Felicia Nimue Ackerman

“Felicia Nimue is a double first name like Mary Jane, and I’m called the whole thing”—is a short-story writer and a philosophy professor at Brown, and she excels at crafting arguments concisely. Since 1987, the Times has printed more than two hundred of her letters, which is either a record or close to one. Tom Feyer, the letters editor, doesn’t keep count, but he named Ackerman as a top contender for first place. ...
She responds to articles on a variety of topics—ageism, fatism, “society’s tendency to medicalize virtually everything”—but her underlying interest is in personal freedom. Employers should stop telling employees what to do with their free time; self-righteous people should stop “monitoring their friends and neighbors for environmental purity”; parents should stop worrying about whether violent video games have redeeming social value (“Isn’t it high time we directed our attention to the world’s real ills and stopped policing people’s fantasy lives?”). The most fundamental freedom is the freedom to stay alive, and Ackerman argues that “death with dignity” is often a euphemism for coercion. She insists that everyone, no matter how ill or decrepit, is equally justified in clinging to life. (March 13, 2005: “I would like to know why so many of my fellow bioethicists are so ready to say that someone else’s life is not worth living.”). Andrew Marantz, newyorker.

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