The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
1 Points

Are self harm and suicide immoral?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2015 Category: People
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,326 times Debate No: 68925
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




A user called Lannan13 posted two polls under the title of "Is self harm morally justifiable?" and "Is suicide Ever Morally Justifiable?". Personally I think it's ridiculous and offensive to even consider this but, hey. I'm nothing if not open to changing my views. So I'd like to see firstly if anyone agrees with him and secondly if they can actually defend their views.


Why is suicide not morally justifiable?
Suicide can be considered a dark decision made by a person on his own self. While every person has rights that allow them to be their own property, suicide has a great effect on the person's environment. If anyone kills themselves, then they are causing great harm to all those who depend on them. Every person has a great psychological and ethical effect on their environment. This ethical radiatory effect is generally because of the emotional impact they have on many people. If a person commits suicide, their death will have great depressive emotional impact on all those that love them. Every person in the world has other people caring for them. So, if the person commits suicide or harms oneself, then they are causing great emotional harm to other people, and are justifiably answerable to all those people emotionally or psychologically harmed by them, else that person is violating basic human ethical viewpoints.

Self harm causes further pain to one's environment, because self-harm is generally more painful than suicide. It is unjust to all those that one has evolved to gain care from.
Conclusion: Self-harm and suicide are not morally justifiable because of the negative emotional impact they have on people.
Debate Round No. 1


Something I think is important here is we need to have an understanding of clinical depression. Although I do not have it, some of the people I am closest to in the world do. I have a friend, for anonymitys sake lets call her Lauren. Now I knew Lauren for a few months before me and her became good friends but one day we just happened to be invited to a party together and we started to get to know each other. Over the period of the next few months me and her became immensely close, there'd be pretty much nothing we wouldn't open up to each other about. I say this just so you fully understand how much she means to me. Now, horrifically Lauren doesn't only have depression, she had it incredibly badly. Her therapist says she is one of the worst cases he's ever seen. In her own words (paraphrasing) her demons never go away, they make her life a misery even when she has nothing at all to be sad about. I've spent whole days with her in my arms as she just cried and cried. And although its horrible, she cuts. And she cuts quite badly. But the reason she does it is in the moments when the urge to die gets too strong it makes her forget. And seeing her cuts absolutely breaks my heart. But I do not feel personally wronged by this, and no decent human should. When I found out she attempted suicide I did not fling my arms in the air and scream at her about how horrible a person she is for making ME feel sad. To say self harm is immoral because it makes others sad is one of the most arrogant and reprehensible things I have ever heard. If you want to make a seriously mentally ill person not do the one thing that takes their mind off how much they want to die just because it makes you feel a bit bad, you are saying you would rather the person wanted to die. If you genuinely think this then you are an unempathetic, deplorable human being.
It is like saying chemotherapy is immoral because seeing a bald cancer patient makes you sad.
The same goes for suicide. It's really hard to understand depression if you don't have it, I am not an exception here. But people with depression do not want to be sad, they want to continue their life healthily. And when a person with depression decides to attempt suicide it is because they feel like they cannot go on, they don't want to live another day in which all they want to do is cry. Most people with depression who kill themselves do so 6 months after seeking professional help. Imagine how it must feel to have a mental condition that destroys all your happiness and robs you of your will to live, and then to realise the best help money can buy isn't working. Once again, how arrogant do you have to be to look at a person who has lost the will to keep on going and just wants all the pain to be over, and conclude that they have to keep on going through the pain just because of you. You are utterly repulsive if you look at a person who's lost all will to live, and conclude that person is an immoral wretch.
In conclusion, people commit suicide and self harm because they have nothing left they can do. And pointing at these people and calling them immoral is not only idiotic and evil. It's dangerous. They do what they do because it's all they have left and then they're told that they're wrong for doing it. I think its not them who are the immoral ones here.


There is no saying if death can cure clinical depression. No one knows truly the shadows of death; even for those undergoing depression, there is no hope if they decide to leave all others in equal pain; the darkness of death is unimaginable to the human mind, and one committing suicide might result in fearsome pain for others. You must be prepared to sacrifice oneself for the sake of thousands; so, by not dying, you can help thousands.

Clinical depression can be eased, even cured; death cannot, and nor can the people affected by another's death.
Debate Round No. 2


What I think you're trying to say here is that there may be life after death therefore we don't know if killing yourself if going to help. Well this is wrong in two ways.
First of all, we pretty much know that there is no afterlife. Human consciousness and everything we are, every single tiny part of your personality is powered and stored in your brain. In fact to be honest humans are more like brains walking around in a life-support suit. Yes I suppose it might not be very nice to think like this but years of studying neuroscience has proven it to be true. The brain also needs oxygen to survive, about five minutes of not having any and it'll shut down and die. And once the brain is dead, you are dead and so is everything you ever were. Its like wiping a hard drive, the materials are still there but the contents are gone. So there cannot really be an afterlife because once your brain is no longer alive, the thing that made you you is gone.
Secondly even if this weren't the case it still wouldn't make any sense because by the same logic the afterlife could be a place of happiness when all the pain was gone, so in that sense committing suicide was the best move possible.

As I have already said, depression destroys lives. It makes it impossible for the person to live a happy life, robs them of all energy, effort and will to live they have had. And some people can have it for years and years without there being any change or it getting any easier. Depression is one of the worst things that can happen to a person, it can over time destroy a person to the extent everyday feels like utter hell. And if they can't handle it anymore and just want the pain to go away then that is their right, it is not selfish or immoral. Yes of course it will affect their loved ones, but if you think the person felt obliged to stick around and to keep going through all that pain just for you then you are a selfish, entitled reprobate plain and simple


Antidepressants and psychotherapy can together cure most forms of clinical depression. Yet, these ADs and psychotherapy cannot cure one thing: the sheer, intense psychological PAIN of losing someone. The reasons people commit suicide are never rational; they may claim to be depressed, or perhaps really be depressed, but suicide is for irrational reasons, as a result of illogical thinking.

The title of this debate is "Are self harm and suicide immoral?" in a general sense. In cases of psychological disorders (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, clinical depression), suicide is forgivable, if not moral. Yet, in a case when one wishes to end one's life out of simply non-clinical sadness or despair, then suicide is immoral for the reasons stated in my first argument. If this debate was inclusive of all such categorical plausibilities, then there should have been proper definitions. Thus, the first argument stands for lack of proper definitions. In certain cases, suicide can be considered forgivable, but not in most.

Sources: Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It by Jennifer Michael Hecht,
Debate Round No. 3


Actually Antidepressants and psychotherapy are no-where near guaranteed to work. There are essentially five types, and thanks to the wonders of modern science they are about 55-60% effective. Therapy can also work. But the thing is here it doesn't work for everybody, even if it is 1% of all people on treatment who do not get better. Everyone is biologically different. Something you need to understand is people with depression want to get better. They don't want to die, they want to get better and to keep living a happy life. But if telling people hasn't helped, getting therapy hasn't helped and taking anti-depressants hasn't helped then they will feel like there's nothing else they can do. Depression makes your life hell. You can try all you want to escape from hell but if once you reach the gates they are closed, then you'd rather cease existing than to return to the pits of fire. Pro doesn't seem to understand this, the true dirty nature of Depression. Like it's just a bit of sadness that can be got over very easily. Depression isn't just sadness, its a constant never-ending sadness that doesn't goes away. People self harm and cut open their own arms just so they have the will to keep on living. People can fight their demons for years and years but eventually they may lose the will to fight.
I've said it multiple times but if everyday is another day in which all you do is cry, cut yourself and want to die and nothing you have done has helped or ever will help then of course they're going to want to end it. The pain of losing a loved one is nothing when compared to suffering through years of depression.
I'll ask Pro a question directly. Do you think someone you love should feel obliged to keep living through the mental and physical torture of depression when everyday they just want the pain to be over just for you?

Secondly how is suicide an illogical thought? Just to put it simply, they have a pain that is so great and so seemingly infinite that every day is hell, suicide will mean they don't have to go through the hell anymore.

Thirdly, yes okay there are reasons people commit suicide besides psychological disorders e.g. temporary sadness sadness like a break up or being in enormous debt. And in that case I suppose you may have some resemblance of a point. But for the reasons I have addressed in all of the rounds suicide due to depression is tragic. But understandable, reasonable and certainly not immoral.

I want to make it clear though that I am not encouraging ANYONE to commit suicide. You need to take the fight day by day, and live for the moments when you are happy. Be around people you love and just keep going because you're strong and you shouldn't let the demons win. However if you cannot go on then what you do is your decision and your alone and other people who don't understand your pain have no right to force you into anything

In conclusion, when I once received a phone call from my friend saying she had just tried to kill herself and couldn't be alone that night I showed up, hugged her and told her how much I loved her. I did not tell her how much of a moral reprobate she is and self-righteously say how dare she make me feel like this. Suicide is horrific, if I had to lose my friend I don't know what I'd do. But its her choice, and I thank whatever God there is up there she has had the strength to keep on going.


While clinically depressed people may wish to end their lives, in a general term, for an ordinary person, suicide IS immoral for the reasons stated in Round 1. Next: how does SELF-HARM help anybody? Pleasure in horrifying pain? It may lead to death, and pain for others. (See Round 1)
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by tejretics 3 years ago
Pro's position is in acceptance of the fact that self-harm and suicide are immoral. "Are self harm and suicide immoral?" Pro says "yes".
Posted by IcySound 3 years ago
He never did, "Are self harm and suicide IMMoral?"

Con believes self harm and suicide is morale, and Pro argued against it.
Posted by Wylted 3 years ago
Why did pro start arguing con's position.
Posted by Esiar 3 years ago
I'm not sure if it is immoral by itself, but I am certain it is the result of immortality.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Paleophyte 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Con argued well that suicide is not immoral. Pro's rebuttals were brief and weak. This appears to be a topic that is very close to Con's heart, not something that always makes for good debating.