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Philosophical Justification Against Suicide

Perseus
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5/9/2012 3:35:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Is there any convincing case against suicide from a philosophical perspective? I constantly hear people condemning suicide and treating it as something that no rational person would do. Does anybody have a case against it that does not rest on religion?
Perseus
Posts: 135
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5/9/2012 3:47:50 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Nobody? Come on, make a case. I have seen people on this site make claims that suicidal thoughts are a result of deficiencies.
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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5/9/2012 3:56:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 3:35:35 PM, Perseus wrote:
Is there any convincing case against suicide from a philosophical perspective? I constantly hear people condemning suicide and treating it as something that no rational person would do. Does anybody have a case against it that does not rest on religion?

I don't know if this is a philosophical perspective, but every individual in society has some "contracts" with others. Offing oneself would mean rendering those "contracts" null and void.

If the suicidee makes appropriate arrangements to ensure that all the "contractual" obligations are fullfilled before proceeding down the lonely path, then I have no objections to it.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all "contracts" are written down and validated by a competent authority.
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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5/9/2012 4:22:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 3:56:03 PM, Indophile wrote:
At 5/9/2012 3:35:35 PM, Perseus wrote:
Is there any convincing case against suicide from a philosophical perspective? I constantly hear people condemning suicide and treating it as something that no rational person would do. Does anybody have a case against it that does not rest on religion?

I don't know if this is a philosophical perspective, but every individual in society has some "contracts" with others. Offing oneself would mean rendering those "contracts" null and void.

If the suicidee makes appropriate arrangements to ensure that all the "contractual" obligations are fullfilled before proceeding down the lonely path, then I have no objections to it.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all "contracts" are written down and validated by a competent authority.

Sedgwick stated this (albeit more eloquently than you or I), but the social contract becomes inexistent once we commit suicide, and, as Sartre said, we can always back out of any agreement through suicide.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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5/9/2012 4:38:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Consider that you are a father and a husband. If you kill yourself, you have, therefore, killed someones husband and someones father. The consequences of suicide are (almost always) the same as murder.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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5/9/2012 4:41:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 4:27:20 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
If you enjoy life, I would suggest not committing suicide.

If suicide be supposed a crime, 'tis only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence, when it becomes a burden.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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5/9/2012 5:03:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Camus argues that the only logical conclusion we can draw from the existence of life, is to continue living. To do anything else would be illogical, and should we wish to accord logic with action, we shouldn't kill ourselves.

Then again, I read The Myth of Sisyphus like three years ago so it's all really fuzzy.
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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5/9/2012 5:09:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 3:35:35 PM, Perseus wrote:
Is there any convincing case against suicide from a philosophical perspective? I constantly hear people condemning suicide and treating it as something that no rational person would do. Does anybody have a case against it that does not rest on religion?

Why don't you provide reasons you think suicide is a good idea?
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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5/9/2012 5:14:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Without omniscience there is no way to know that you have reached a point where the outcome of continuing to to live will be better or worse than what happens when you die.

The only time this doesn't apply would be in the case of a terminal disease or other ailments that society generally agrees are sound times for euthanasia.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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5/9/2012 5:17:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 5:14:51 PM, Wnope wrote:
Without omniscience there is no way to know that you have reached a point where the outcome of continuing to to live will be better or worse than what happens when you die.

The only time this doesn't apply would be in the case of a terminal disease or other ailments that society generally agrees are sound times for euthanasia.

Well without omniscience there is no way to make any decision in life with complete certainty.

Perhaps the person really will be better off dying. Perhaps some people who haven't committed suicide already should have.
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phantom
Posts: 6,774
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5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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5/9/2012 6:28:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM, phantom wrote:
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.

Understatement of the year.
Perseus
Posts: 135
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5/9/2012 6:38:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM, phantom wrote:
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.

You have to prove that the my obligations to them outweigh my obligations to myself.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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5/11/2012 7:55:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
(Forgot I had posted in this thread)

At 5/9/2012 6:28:08 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM, phantom wrote:
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.

Understatement of the year.

Well I've never head a person I was close to commit suicide so I suppose I'm not the best to judge. Is your reply mainly directed at the "temporarily ruins" part?
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
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5/11/2012 7:56:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/11/2012 7:55:02 PM, phantom wrote:
(Forgot I had posted in this thread)

At 5/9/2012 6:28:08 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM, phantom wrote:
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.

Understatement of the year.

Well I've never had a person I was close to commit suicide so I suppose I'm not the best to judge. Is your reply mainly directed at the "temporarily ruins" part?
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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5/11/2012 8:00:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:38:21 PM, Perseus wrote:
At 5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM, phantom wrote:
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.

You have to prove that the my obligations to them outweigh my obligations to myself.

Well yes, I'm not saying I agree with my statement, but you could look at it from the perspective that the net-negatives of your suicide outweighs your own personal benefit. This would be strongest especially in a utilitarianism mind-set which I think is a good philosophy though I wouldn't completely follow it unless maybe I was atheist.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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5/11/2012 8:20:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/11/2012 7:55:02 PM, phantom wrote:
(Forgot I had posted in this thread)

At 5/9/2012 6:28:08 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 5/9/2012 6:25:45 PM, phantom wrote:
I suppose you could say it temporarily ruins the lives of those you are close to.

Understatement of the year.

Well I've never head a person I was close to commit suicide so I suppose I'm not the best to judge. Is your reply mainly directed at the "temporarily ruins" part?

Yes.
jedipengiun
Posts: 169
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5/22/2012 6:40:54 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Here's my two cents (spend it wisely ;)).

It is necessary to note that when I speak of suicide, I do not speak absolutely every case of suicide. Euthanasia and those suffering a mental illness are exempt. My point is that (for Britain anyhow) I speak of only 10% of cases.

I have always considered suicide to be the most selfish act on earth. It is a way to ruin the lives of others because a person feels that they cannot cope. Imagine how you would feel if the closest person to you committed suicide. It would be devastating.
I also suggest that we are not the people we are if it were not for those around us. And whether you believe Oscar Wilde when he writes that all influence is immoral, or you believe that as you have been helped, you now have a duty to help.

I like to analogise it through Lego! Imagine that I am to build something, imagine I'm building a home, my only problem is that I don't have enough bricks. Well, I can get bricks from those around me, my family, my friends, my partners. These bricks I then use to build my house. My house has finally been built and I'm now living within it, and quite content I live in it.
Suddenly my closest friend, the person who gave me a vast majority of my bricks has committed suicide. In doing so his bricks disappear with him.
It's safe to assume that a huge part of my life has now disappeared, that my once safe home is now vulnerable and that the structure of my home and my life is shaken to it's very foundations. Those bricks where I intended to build my home in future I suddenly cannot.

My point is this, how is it fair to remove a large part of another one's life?
I feel that there is never justification to self-harm with the intent of death is never justified! It's the single most selfish act on earth.
Things that make me happy!

: At 6/22/2012 1:46:11 PM, Kinesis wrote:
: Also, as an Englishman I'm obligated to be prejudiced against gingers and the French.

: At 8/27/2012 10:00:07 PM, FREEDO wrote:
: Every self-respecting philosopher needs to smoke a pipe.
jedipengiun
Posts: 169
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5/22/2012 3:52:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I feel that there is never justification for self-harm with the intent of death!
Sorry, that sentence did not make sense. I remember being distracted though..
Things that make me happy!

: At 6/22/2012 1:46:11 PM, Kinesis wrote:
: Also, as an Englishman I'm obligated to be prejudiced against gingers and the French.

: At 8/27/2012 10:00:07 PM, FREEDO wrote:
: Every self-respecting philosopher needs to smoke a pipe.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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5/23/2012 7:13:13 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/22/2012 6:40:54 AM, jedipengiun wrote:
Here's my two cents (spend it wisely ;)).

It is necessary to note that when I speak of suicide, I do not speak absolutely every case of suicide. Euthanasia and those suffering a mental illness are exempt. My point is that (for Britain anyhow) I speak of only 10% of cases.

I have always considered suicide to be the most selfish act on earth. It is a way to ruin the lives of others because a person feels that they cannot cope. Imagine how you would feel if the closest person to you committed suicide. It would be devastating.
I also suggest that we are not the people we are if it were not for those around us. And whether you believe Oscar Wilde when he writes that all influence is immoral, or you believe that as you have been helped, you now have a duty to help.

I like to analogise it through Lego! Imagine that I am to build something, imagine I'm building a home, my only problem is that I don't have enough bricks. Well, I can get bricks from those around me, my family, my friends, my partners. These bricks I then use to build my house. My house has finally been built and I'm now living within it, and quite content I live in it.
Suddenly my closest friend, the person who gave me a vast majority of my bricks has committed suicide. In doing so his bricks disappear with him.
It's safe to assume that a huge part of my life has now disappeared, that my once safe home is now vulnerable and that the structure of my home and my life is shaken to it's very foundations. Those bricks where I intended to build my home in future I suddenly cannot.

My point is this, how is it fair to remove a large part of another one's life?
I feel that there is never justification to self-harm with the intent of death is never justified! It's the single most selfish act on earth.

So in other words, you cannot commit suicide, because other people would be upset. It is many times more selfish, I would say, that people should stay alive simply because you'll be upset that they will die, no matter that they are in charge of their own life. I am upset when people support a different football team to me: it doesn't make it selfish for them to be on a different football team. It is selfish to say that other people should change because otherwise you'll be upset.. The phrase "life doesn't revolve around you" comes to mind.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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5/23/2012 7:24:25 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
The "it harms others" argument is little more than a general application of utilitarian principles and doesn't really address the concept of suicide itself.

Ok, sure, suicide is immoral if it causes more harm than good. Whoopededoo. That applies to any action.

Eating a carrot is immoral if it causes more harm than good.

But, is there anything intrinsically immoral/unjustified about suicide itself? That's the real question.

What if I'm a hermit and I am completely self-sustainable and have absolutely no significant connection to anyone, anywhere? Is it wrong for me to commit suicide? Those who are against suicide would most likely say yes, meaning there must be some reasoning above and beyond utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is, then, merely the low hanging fruit here.

So, what is it?
jedipengiun
Posts: 169
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5/23/2012 4:12:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/23/2012 7:13:13 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/22/2012 6:40:54 AM, jedipengiun wrote:
Here's my two cents (spend it wisely ;)).

It is necessary to note that when I speak of suicide, I do not speak absolutely every case of suicide. Euthanasia and those suffering a mental illness are exempt. My point is that (for Britain anyhow) I speak of only 10% of cases.

I have always considered suicide to be the most selfish act on earth. It is a way to ruin the lives of others because a person feels that they cannot cope. Imagine how you would feel if the closest person to you committed suicide. It would be devastating.
I also suggest that we are not the people we are if it were not for those around us. And whether you believe Oscar Wilde when he writes that all influence is immoral, or you believe that as you have been helped, you now have a duty to help.

I like to analogise it through Lego! Imagine that I am to build something, imagine I'm building a home, my only problem is that I don't have enough bricks. Well, I can get bricks from those around me, my family, my friends, my partners. These bricks I then use to build my house. My house has finally been built and I'm now living within it, and quite content I live in it.
Suddenly my closest friend, the person who gave me a vast majority of my bricks has committed suicide. In doing so his bricks disappear with him.
It's safe to assume that a huge part of my life has now disappeared, that my once safe home is now vulnerable and that the structure of my home and my life is shaken to it's very foundations. Those bricks where I intended to build my home in future I suddenly cannot.

My point is this, how is it fair to remove a large part of another one's life?
I feel that there is never justification to self-harm with the intent of death is never justified! It's the single most selfish act on earth.

So in other words, you cannot commit suicide, because other people would be upset. It is many times more selfish, I would say, that people should stay alive simply because you'll be upset that they will die, no matter that they are in charge of their own life. I am upset when people support a different football team to me: it doesn't make it selfish for them to be on a different football team. It is selfish to say that other people should change because otherwise you'll be upset.. The phrase "life doesn't revolve around you" comes to mind.

I don't understand how that phrase comes to mind. I myself would not perform it on the premise that it would harm others. I also would not wish it upon the people I hate most, despite the fact I may desire it. It is not an egotistitical view but one that promote's not harming others when it is not necessary.
The entire nature of teams is competition, and it is essential for other teams or others to exist in a competition, the nature of existence is not competition. You have no right to be offended when somebody else supports another team, because without the other team you would not have yours.
Things that make me happy!

: At 6/22/2012 1:46:11 PM, Kinesis wrote:
: Also, as an Englishman I'm obligated to be prejudiced against gingers and the French.

: At 8/27/2012 10:00:07 PM, FREEDO wrote:
: Every self-respecting philosopher needs to smoke a pipe.
jedipengiun
Posts: 169
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5/23/2012 4:27:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/23/2012 7:24:25 AM, drafterman wrote:
The "it harms others" argument is little more than a general application of utilitarian principles and doesn't really address the concept of suicide itself.

Ok, sure, suicide is immoral if it causes more harm than good. Whoopededoo. That applies to any action.

Eating a carrot is immoral if it causes more harm than good.

But, is there anything intrinsically immoral/unjustified about suicide itself? That's the real question.

What if I'm a hermit and I am completely self-sustainable and have absolutely no significant connection to anyone, anywhere? Is it wrong for me to commit suicide? Those who are against suicide would most likely say yes, meaning there must be some reasoning above and beyond utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is, then, merely the low hanging fruit here.

So, what is it?

You have completely negated the entire notion of context. Are scissors immoral or moral? Well, considering that they are merely a means to an end they are neither. They are merely a tool. Is using a knife wrong? Well there are instances when using a knife is wrong, but there are times when using a knife is moral.
Is suicide wrong, despite the fact that it is a means to an end. The end being death and the means being suicide. There is rarely a case where it can be justifed. We ultimately influence those around us whether we intend to or not, and we, whether we intend to or not become influenced.
Realistically you're hermit instance is not that likely to happen, but when it does happen that person ultimately will have been social with fellow humans at one point or another, and may play a key role in performing good upon another person in future, his lack of knowledge about this doesn't justify suicide. People owe it to one another to help make each others lives better.
Things that make me happy!

: At 6/22/2012 1:46:11 PM, Kinesis wrote:
: Also, as an Englishman I'm obligated to be prejudiced against gingers and the French.

: At 8/27/2012 10:00:07 PM, FREEDO wrote:
: Every self-respecting philosopher needs to smoke a pipe.
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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5/23/2012 5:49:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
He's not destroying context. He is asking if there is an intrinsic reason (outside of impacts) that suicide is immoral, and nobody has presented one. Is the act itself immoral even if it cannot affect others?

This is how we determine whether or not an act is immoral.

You say that at some point the hermit could have contacted others. True, but do they likely care about him anymore if he is a hermit?

Moreover, are the following acts immoral? : Divorce, choosing to live as a hermit, moving to another city or town or country, etc.? All of those actions affect other people and are purely egotistical, but we would not say that they are immoral because they are an expression of the right to liberty.
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/23/2012 6:15:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
What goal does it achieve? It's a positive action, requiring positive effort to justify. (As opposed to just ceasing to make the effort to stand and eat, which causes death but is not typically classed as suicide. The only response to the latter action can be: Do you choose to live or don't you? Morality only applies in the context of a goal.).
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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5/23/2012 6:18:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/23/2012 6:15:24 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
What goal does it achieve? It's a positive action, requiring positive effort to justify. (As opposed to just ceasing to make the effort to stand and eat, which causes death but is not typically classed as suicide. The only response to the latter action can be: Do you choose to live or don't you? Morality only applies in the context of a goal.).

The goal is liberation from life's burdens.

My contention is not that it is moral, but that it is morally permissible (amoral).
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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5/23/2012 6:28:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The proper end for humankind is a form of self-actualization. Suicide denies one of that end, not to mention the enormous costs and suffering that befall one's friends and family. My High School had a string of suicides and I can assure you the parents and close friends have never recovered. Even like 5 years later there's still facebook pages that serve as an active memorial and it's truly heart-breaking. With suicide, the the hopes and dreams that the parents invested in that child die, as do that child's own potential rooted in his own mental capacities. With the exception of the gravest of cases, there's always hope for the child or adult.