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suicide is morally permissible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,045 times Debate No: 22871
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I'm looking to debate about this topic, and see what anyone thinks about this.
I argue that suicide is morally permissible


Hello, this is my first debate. So I am arguing that suicide is not morally permissible.

Over one million people die by suicide every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide[3] and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States.[4] It is a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under 35---Wiki
There are an estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide----Wiki
If suicide would be permissible then it would almost certainly kill many people every year which would effect the victim's family and close friends. Suicide wil inflict strong emotional repurcussions for its survivors and for families of its victims. This may lead to more suicide and depression which will effect the victims family dramitically.
If suicide is morraly permissible many more people will die and that will dramitcally change other people's lives.
Debate Round No. 1


Hey thanks for accepting, this is also my first debate, so sorry if i miss any formalities or procedures.
I have a few questions:
If a suicide fails (is not fatal) then is it still considered suicide under your definition?
does any of your evidence state that suicide affects all individuals friends/family in a negative way?
Do you agree that a person's value to life is 0 when they are dead?

I'll now counter some of your arguments
Your main argument is basically that death is bad, however, in the case of suicide, when an individuals value to life(i can clarify on this subject if you want) becomes less than 0, life is worth than death, which makes suicide morally permissible.
When your life becomes worse than death, it is morally permissible to take your own life. I'll give some empirical examples, such as the Japanese and their hara-kiri, or the Jewish suicide at Masada. Both of these examples are of when people decided their life was worth than death, and their value to life was below zero, and they decided to take their lives.

Another argument you made is that suicide being morally permissible will lead to more people dying, but this is not true. we are not debating about a piece of legislature mandating that suicide become legal or even encourage suicide. this debate is solely for the purpose of education and entertainment, when the judge(s) vote that suicide is morally permissible, suicide rates will not suddenly increase. The issue we are questioning here is whether it is right for an individual to commit suicide.

you say that suicide has negative effects on others, however this is outweighed by the fact that the actual individual who commits suicide makes their "state" better by dying, and setting their value to life to 0.
Also, your own argument here actually makes suicide seem good, because suicides lead to education about suicides, and more people becoming aware about what to do. such as in health class in school, where some people learn about drugs, bullying, suicides, and other issues and how to deal with them.
Suicides could also have positive impacts on others, it is impossible to accurately weigh the impacts on others.
this argument is irrelevant anyways, suicide being morally permissible won't actually cause people to die therefore there's no link to the argument that it will change others lives.
once again, you assume death is bad, but in the case that living is worse than death, suicide is morally permissible.


Hello, so thanks for responding.
Heres the answer to your questions.
Suicide is the act of one harming oneself, even if the attemp is not fatal it is still suicide. Hence attemp suicide.
2: There is no need for evidence. It is plainly obvious that it wont only effect the individual, but also friends and family but for arguement sake here is some anecdotes on the internet.
"I lost an uncle to suicide when I was 10. There were signs with him. I'm still haunted by his death, and not one day goes by that I don't think of him and what might have been. I'm turning 32 at the end of the month."---- this is found on and there are plenty more out there.
I dont understand what you mean by "do you agree that a person's value to life is 0 when they are dead"
Now Ill counter some of your statements.
"The issue we are questioning here is whether it is right for an indivduals to commit suicide"------ I am saying that the indivdual does not have to right to take away his life as it will effect others.

Also you say that "suicide makes their state better by dying, and setting their value to life to zero"---- So you are saying that suiciding makes the victim's state somehow better by dying and that when they are living their "value to life" is less then zero?
Also you have not any evidence on proving there is really a case where "living is worse then death".
Ill also like to point out the obvious fact that suicide is illgeal. To relate back to arguement the person who suicides does not have the right to do so as it is against the law in nearly every country.---
Debate Round No. 2


to answer your questions:
Value to life is simply how much worth a person gives to their life.
I'm saying that people who commit suicide have a negative value to life, and i know you weren't sure but it meant, but you didn't actually oppose the idea that when people die their value to life is zero, which makes death a better option than a life worse than death (with negative value to life.)

I'll move on to my arguments now:
Negative effects to others:
First off you say that it is plainly obvious that it will affect the environment of the individual. This is true, however you have not proved that these effects are always negative, and you have conceded my argument, which means that the benefits of suicide still outweigh these negative side effects.

These effects on other people are inevitable anyways. Let's say I steal a piece of candy from my neighbor, or maybe i decide to be generous and give my friend the last potato chip (sorry for talking about food lol, more dramatic examples would be murder/saving one's life.) These actions and effects are all part of life and are outweighed by my impacts.

"the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind"-Merriam Webster( The resolution was about suicide, not about "attempting suicide"
But it doesn't really matter anyways, you're not focusing on the harms to the individual in this debate but the effects on others from what i can tell from your last speech.

My case:
You've conceded the entirety of the argument that by committing suicide one makes their state better by increasing their value to life, which is the reason why suicide is morally permissible; it increases one's value to life. This impact comes before yours, because this is the most direct, i've given the most specific internal links and the judge should prefer these. Also, the magnitude of my impact is greater because your own impact is a loss of value to life (a symptom similar to depression from the anecdote you cite,) which means when you weigh my impact against yours, mine is much greater. in your impacts, their life is still "good" and the people still have value to life, while in my case, these people have completely lost their value to life and have negative values.

Some Misc stuff:
You say I don't have any evidence saying that there is a case where life is worse than death, yet i've given you empirical examples (japanese people, Jewish suicide, etc) There are an exceedingly large amount of cases of suicides, you can actually look at your statistics from your first speech. these people have all decided that their life is worse than death. this is a subjective matter, meaning that i cannot give you evidence giving a case when life was worse than death or vice versa from a "god"'s point of view, but the fact that these people have committed suicide is evidence by itself.

You also point out suicide's illegal. what're you trying to say here? Once again, i'm not proposing a piece of legislature mandating that suicide is legal. we're debating about whether suicide is morally permissible or not. If you're trying to make the argument that "since it's illegal, it must be bad for some reason" that's a terrible mindset for thinking. if you thought that the status quo existed for a reason and that once should only stick with it, no change would be created (Oh no poor obama lol) and that world would be horrible. i hope you're not trying to get into some heideggerean point of view here lol...pretty deep stuff.


Time for me to attack >xD.
You say that there are some empirical example eg japanese people, Jewish suicide. How does these examples show that this is morally permissible? That is like saying since a group of people killed 100 people it is permissible as others do or , or saying like that a group of adults vandalised a house it makes it ok as they do it.
When you said that's a terrible mindset for thinking ill like to say that i never said the "since it's illegal, it must be bad for some reason"
Also the law is set up or the public.
Morally permissable means the behaviors the public tolerates, like smoking and drinking.
Since the law is made for the public, and morally permissable means behavior that the public tolerates, it should not be permissable as the law that the public follows does not permit suicide.
You have evidence that one's life value can be negactive... It probely isnt possible as value to LIFE is Living not death. (Thats why it called living x D) lol.
Anyway thanks for responding fast. =D.
Debate Round No. 3


Sorry, I had to sleep sometime :P.

So you seem to have gotten some of my arguments mixed up.
When I gave examples of suicides in the past and cited your statistics, this was to prove the point that it was possible to have a negative value to life, because of all of these people who have had negative values, and decided death was a better option than a continued life. values can be negative, such as having a negative balance in your bank account. You can have a negative value to life when you're still alive, I don't know what you're trying to say here. I'm not trying to say that just because someone has done something that makes it ok.

Thanks for clarifying what point you were trying to make by stating that suicide is illegal. First off, I'd actually like to point out your article actually has disputed results for whether suicide is legal or not, your evidence doesn't really support your point at all.
Moral permissibility:
1) You say that morally permissible means the behaviors the public tolerates, but this is obviously flawed. I'll give you a famous examples that disproves this idea. Say you're in a situation where you are forced to either kill one innocent or a larger number of innocent. under a utilitarian framework, one would obviously choose to save the largest number of people, hence maximizing the potential for value to life. However, under what you say, the public does not tolerate murder. This means that if we followed what you said, the person wouldn't save anyone, and would simply leave all of the people to die. If this is your idea of something being morally permissible then there's probably something wrong with it.
2) Once again, you say that you don't think according to the mindset that we should simply follow the status quo, but you contradict yourself by saying that we should follow laws and assuming that laws must be correct. If those laws are created by a corrupt government or individual, that doesn't justify it and make it morally permissible. If a dictator decrees that every monday there will be sacrifice, that's not morally permissible just because the public tolerates it.
3) Whether something is morally permissible has nothing to do with whether society accepts it or not. There have been lincoln douglas debate (LD debate) resolutions about things such as targeted killings and animal rights. People have not always accepted these issues, yet it is our desire to debate about whether these actions are actually morally permissible or not.

You have conceded that the benefits outweigh any external effects on the individual's environment a suicide might have, so i'm assuming we've settled that matter.

I think the crucial point for you and the judge to understand in this debate is that when life becomes unbearable, death is a better option and is therefore morally permissible.

Just a side note here, but i think it would be a good idea if there were no new arguments besides more warranted and deep analysis of previous points made in round 5 because it's impossible for me to answer them (i don't have a round 6 lol)


Andalite forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


so....are you busy or something?


Andalite forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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