John Hardwig

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John Hardwig is a retired philosopher who was head of the philosophy department at the University of Tennessee.[1] He has published widely on bioethics, end of life issues and the notion of epistemic dependency and the role of experts. He is best known for a 1997 article proposing that individuals have a duty to die in situations when those who love them would have their lives seriously compromised by continuing to take care of them.[2]

In much of his writings, he calls for the learning of a "dying art", which he describes as becoming necessary at a time when death comes too late, rather than too early. This phenomenon is often referred to as the 'fourth phase' of the epidemiological transition.[3] He frequently argued that there are cases in which there exists a right to die, especially when prolonging life imposes a great burden on loved ones. His arguments have been very influential among contemporary philosophers.


  1. ^ "John Hardwig". Archived from the original on 2016-02-17.
  2. ^ "Is there a duty to die?". BBC Ethics. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  3. ^ Olshansky, S.J.; Ault, A.B. (1986). "The Fourth Stage of the Epidemiological Transition: The Age of Delayed Degenerative Diseases". Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly: Health and Society. 64: 355–391. JSTOR 3350025.