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Our daughter in secondary school must choose which university subject to apply. In UK, Suicide Act 1961 outlaws any physician-assisted suicide. We've had four members of our extended family who had to fly overseas to die with dignity. One was in early stage of neurodegeneration, one became disabled and found life too hard, and two feared old age. Not only did they have to pay a lot, our family had to soft-pedal our actions to comply the law.

As her life calling, she is passioned to normalize and fight for voluntary physician-assisted suicide FOR CONSENTING RATIONAL ADULTS. Obviously she wants full-time job that pays more than minimum wage. She's thinking professor.

  1. But what subject is best? Philosophy? Law? Medicine?

  2. Is being professor the best job for advocating physician-assisted suicide?

She ruled out

  • lawyer. See Reddit thread.

    KingCreole8. 2 points 2 months ago

    Wanting to advocate for a single issue is not really a good reason to go to law school. If you look at the academic papers cited by the Supreme Court over the last 20 years in contentious social/legal policy matters, they’re actually more likely to be authored by political scientists with no law degree than legal academics. (Even in “legal” areas like constitutional law, authors like Emmett MacFarlane who write about law but have no legal training tend to get cited more frequently than you’d expect.) You mention a Canadian lawyer with McCarthys who earned a medical degree four decades ago; that’s probably been useful for client development (McCarthys is the main firm engaged by the CMPA, the powerhouse that aggressively defends medical malpractice claims in Canada), but I doubt that background has given her any greater voice than the average health law practitioner in contentious policy areas.

    Like /u/icebiker, in 2019, if you’re in a position where you could go to either medical school or law school, most practicing lawyers would advise you in private to take the medical school route. It’s a better career, and you can pursue political advocacy for medical issues on the side.

    Alt_Boogeyman. 2 points 2 months ago

    I don't think going to law school just to advocate on one narrow issue is a particularly good idea. It seems to me that physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia only goes to the SCC about once a decade or so.

    That said, I agree with the others who suggest becoming a MD, advocating and/or publishing on the topic. You could end up being an expert in the field and eventually testify in legal cases.

    Bren95. 1 point 2 months ago

    Given your focus on this issue, your better route might be to become a palliative care physician. Doctors have the opportunity to do a fair bit of advocacy and lobbying at both the provincial and federal levels. That route would give you the financial means, expertise, and venues to make that push.

    By contrast, it is difficult for practicing lawyers to focus on one issue, especially with a policy agenda. It could be a side project or niche, but it would be difficult to devote yourself to it. You could become a law professor focusing on health law, and perhaps add an element of advocacy to your career. But I suspect you would make a bigger difference, and sooner, by being a physician and lobbying from that angle.

  • politicians who must deal many other issues, not just physician-assisted suicide. Li Shengwu (Singapore's PM's nephew, Harvard Assistant Professor of Economics) quipped “As a politician, you will inevitably have to lie, I am not willing to lie about my beliefs, I am not up to it.”

She picked pallative care physician for now.


Wikipedia and Stanford Philosophy outlines philosophy on permitting suicide.

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    This question is rambling and appears to be asking what the best undergraduate major is for a particular person's preferences. I think it's about undergraduate admissions. – Anonymous Physicist Aug 4 '19 at 7:40
  • Any academic career is probably a bad idea for this purpose : What she needs is enough income and lots of free time. – Flyto Aug 6 '19 at 23:17
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As her life calling, she is passioned to normalize and fight for voluntary physician-assisted suicide FOR CONSENTING RATIONAL ADULTS. Obviously she wants full-time job that pays more than minimum wage. She's thinking professor.

It is nice to hear that your daughter has some fire in her belly. Nevertheless, one of the most basic premises of the value of tertiary education is that it challenges views that students have formed in secondary school, or via imitation of their parents. Tertiary education is designed to expose students to the full spectrum of arguments on matters like this, to allow them to assess their previously held views in an open-minded and evidence-based manner. The existing views of students are generally challenged with counter-argument, and they are encouraged to formulate their views in light of knowledge of academic argument. The idea of having a teenager enter tertiary education with a fixed and inflexible view of euthanasia ---let alone holding it as a "life calling"--- is contrary to the requirements of tertiary education.

The premise of your argument is that your daughter should pursue a career as a professor in order to most effectively advocate the views of her teenage self. However, the very process of educating herself in this topic gives no guarantee that her existing view will remain fixed. Certainly your daughter could attend university and study philosophy, which covers the ethics of this matter. A degree in philosophy would cover theories and issues in moral and political philosophy, and this would put her in a good position to become highly educated on the topic of euthanasia, and public policies relating to euthanasia. You should not assume that this process will keep her existing views fixed and merely give her "ammunition" to argue her existing position. It is entirely possible that this experience will change her view on the issue, or she might find something else more interesting to her, and change her "life calling".

A much better approach for your daughter would be for her to enroll in university in a field of interest to her, and with an open-minded view that leaves room for her to challenge and reconsider her existing views on any subject of study. If she is passionate about the ethics and politics of euthanasia then a degree in philosophy is probably a pretty good fit for now. The experience of tertiary education is likely to open her up to a range of interesting topics and views, and she will then be in a better position to determine what she wants to do with her life, and how to pursue this as a profession. Perhaps she will become a professor of ethics; perhaps not.

(And yes, a professor is paid substantially more than minimum wage.)

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