I'd still like some kind of hardcore mode personally but you're right @May17th there are certain circumstances (bugs) that can kill your character that has nothing to do with combat, falling, etc.
I've suggested a few times, elsewhere, on a Saving System (fully optional) that simply didn't allow the user to save by any means currently available (quicksave, manually save) and have just one save file available to them. The option the player would choose (much in the same way we choose a difficulty) would simply "auto-save" once every minute, perhaps even less, while out of combat and that's all that would be available to the player to use when they die.
I usually get attacked for this suggestion and I expect nothing less then that this time, but thanks for listening. =)
I also encountered this funny (at least for my taste) bug a few times. You don't die inevitably, you can still "steer" Geralt while falling down from the skies.
So I managed to dive into the water right next to the boat - no harm done, Witcher survived without a scratch.
Although silly deaths/falling from a small heights will add their level of annoyance, those are still not reasons enough to not have the permadeath option for people like me.
Nobody has to play with permadeath if it is made optional. There are so many fights I went in with my sword swinging left and right because I knew that if I died, I would simply start over - that was not the case when I beat TW2 on with permadeath mode.