The current debate about the controversial issue of euthanasia evokes remote antecedents. From a historical point of view, it is undoubtedly interesting to remember how the majority of positivist criminologists, influenced by a secular and materialistic culture, supported the use of euthanasia in the medical field. In Italy at the end of the nineteenth century, Cesare Lombroso – the founder of criminal anthropology – and above all Enrico Ferri expressed themselves in favor of the right to dispose of one's own life and, consequently, of the lawfulness of "pitiful murder" and suicide aid. Thirty years later Enrico Morselli, famous psychiatrist and criminologist, in his book "The pitiful killing" admitted with very caution the possibility of a "medical euthanasia for private purposes", determined "by noble and human reasons", and subject to the full consent of the patient. Morselli's prudence also stemmed from the growing favor to collectivist euthanasia, understood as an instrument of eugenic policy to eliminate socially unfit individuals. In fact, in the following years the debate on euthanasia would become increasingly closely intertwined with eugenic initiatives, which were implemented not only in Nazi Germany but before that in other countries of Northern Europe and in the United States. A contamination that still today conditions public discussions about end-of-life choices.

Fine vita come scelta. Eutanasia e suicidio nella prospettiva della criminologia positivista

Pierpaolo Martucci
2022-01-01

Abstract

The current debate about the controversial issue of euthanasia evokes remote antecedents. From a historical point of view, it is undoubtedly interesting to remember how the majority of positivist criminologists, influenced by a secular and materialistic culture, supported the use of euthanasia in the medical field. In Italy at the end of the nineteenth century, Cesare Lombroso – the founder of criminal anthropology – and above all Enrico Ferri expressed themselves in favor of the right to dispose of one's own life and, consequently, of the lawfulness of "pitiful murder" and suicide aid. Thirty years later Enrico Morselli, famous psychiatrist and criminologist, in his book "The pitiful killing" admitted with very caution the possibility of a "medical euthanasia for private purposes", determined "by noble and human reasons", and subject to the full consent of the patient. Morselli's prudence also stemmed from the growing favor to collectivist euthanasia, understood as an instrument of eugenic policy to eliminate socially unfit individuals. In fact, in the following years the debate on euthanasia would become increasingly closely intertwined with eugenic initiatives, which were implemented not only in Nazi Germany but before that in other countries of Northern Europe and in the United States. A contamination that still today conditions public discussions about end-of-life choices.
2-dic-2022
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https://www.medicinaescienzeumane.com/2022/12/02/fine-vita-come-scelta-eutanasia-e-suicidio-nella-prospettiva-della-criminologia-positivista/
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3035498
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