and the right to physician assisted suicide.
The National Library of Medicine’s website states that most people who commit suicide do so because they are “trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to deal with” (“Suicide”)....
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Suicide is simply defined as the act of intentionally ending one’s own life, however, the factors that play into a person making that decision are anything but simple.
This brief attempt at conceptual analysis of suicide illustrates thefrustrations of such a project, as the unclear notion of suicide isapparently replaced by equally unclear notions such as intention andcoercion. We may be attracted to increasingly convoluted analyses ofsuicide (Donnelly 1998, 20) or accept that suicide is an ‘opentextured’ concept instances of which are bound together only byweak Wittgensteinian family resemblance and hence resistant toanalysis in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions (Windt1981).
Teenage suicide is on the rise at an alarming rate.
The Protestant Reformers, including Calvin, condemned suicide asroundly as did the established Church, but held out the possibility ofGod treating suicide mercifully and permitting repentance. Interest inmoral questions concerning suicide was particularly strong in thisperiod among England’s Protestants, notably the Puritans (Sprott1961). Nonetheless, the traditional Christian view prevailed well intothe late seventeenth century, where even an otherwise liberal thinkersuch as John Locke echoed earlier Thomistic arguments, claiming thatthough God bestowed upon us our natural personal liberty, that libertydoes not include the liberty to destroy oneself (Locke 1690, ch. 2,para. 6).
The National suicide rate has increased 78% between 1952 and 1992.
In all likelihood, the first comprehensive modern defense of suicidewas John Donne’s Biathanatos (c. 1607). Not intendedfor publication, Biathanatos drew upon an array of classicaland modern legal and theological sources to argue that Christiandoctrine should not hold that suicide is necessarily sinful. Hiscritique is in effect internal, drawing upon the logic of Christianthought itself to suggest that suicide is not contrary to the laws ofnature, of reason, or of God. Were it contrary to the law of naturemandating self-preservation, all acts of self-denial or privationwould be similarly unlawful. Moreover, there may be circumstances inwhich reason might recommend suicide. Finally, Donne observes, notonly does Biblical Scripture lack a clear condemnation of suicide,Christian doctrine has permitted other forms of killing such asmartyrdom, capital punishment and killing in wartime (Minois 1999,20–21).
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 25 year olds.
Furthermore, suicide does not necessarily violate any duties towardother people, according to Hume. Reciprocity may require that webenefit society in exchange for the benefits it provides, but surelysuch reciprocity reaches its limit when by living we provide only a“frivolous advantage” to society at the expense ofsignificant harm or suffering for ourselves. In more extremesituations, we are actually burdens to others, in which case ourdeaths are not only “innocent, but laudable.”
Thesis On Assisted Suicide - Scanstrut
In the end, Hume concludes that suicide “may be free ofimputation of guilt and blame.” His position is largelyutilitarian, allied with a strong presumption of personal liberty. TheEnlightenment was of course not univocal in its comparativelypermissive attitudes toward suicide. The most noteworthy opponent ofsuicide in this period was Immanuel Kant. Kant’s arguments,though they reflect earlier natural law arguments, draw upon his viewof moral worth as emanating from the autonomous rational wills ofindividuals (Cholbi 2000, 2010). For Kant, our rational wills are thesource of our moral duty, and it is therefore a kind of practicalcontradiction to suppose that the same will can permissibly destroythe very body that carries out its volitions and choices. Given thedistinctive worth of an autonomous rational will, suicide is an attackon the very source of moral authority.