2004
Volume 110, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

In recent Kantian discussions about suicide, it is not uncommon to find relatively ‘mild’ approaches towards suicide. Even though as a rule suicide is still impermissible, some argue that there may be circumstances that can make suicide morally permissible. If a person suffers such that she cannot be considered to have a rational life any more, suicide is no longer immoral because the object of the moral duty is no longer present. In this paper, I investigate this argumentative strategy by exploring what it might mean to have a ‘rational life’. I argue that on a minimal conception, people who suffer unbearably still lead rational lives and suicide is thus not morally justified. On substantial conceptions, however, not only does having a rational life become a contingent affair, it also leads to a more liberal approach towards suicide than ‘mild Kantians’ may be prepared to accept.

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2018-12-01
2021-06-13
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Kantianism; rational life; suicide; unbearable suffering
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