The aim of this research is to explore the theme of death using qualitative study tools as part of the general design, in order to investigate two main issues: an ethical and value funded perspective, connected to the "meanings" and values, regarding the internal and personal experience of the respondents, as well as a practical-behaviour, expressing the choices made by people about their own lives. The key respondents in the survey were physicians, as well as ill and healthy citizens, both male and female. They were all from different educational backgrounds, as well as locations (north, centre, south of Italy). The final report reaffirms the awareness of human finitude as well as a frequent personal aspiration to go beyond that. The main outcomes of study outline the dichotomies of life, death, illness, health, and how their symbolic declinations form the basis upon which the term self-determination can be traced. Thus, they become the semantic device through which it is possible to express ideas and opinions in relation to the context in which people live. There is no evidence that there is an area in the country, more or less emancipated on the themes of death. In addition, education and gender do not seem to influence the way death and right to die are perceived.
Keywords: Self-determination, advanced health-care directives, end-of-life terminally-ill, living will, sociology of health