Suicide

Edited by Craig Paterson (Complutense University of Madrid)
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  1. Spinoza on Conatus, Inertia and the Impossibility of Self-Destruction.F. Buyse - manuscript
    Suicide or self-destruction means in ordinary language “the act of killing oneself deliberately” (intentionally or on purpose). Indeed, that’s what we read in the Oxford dictionary and the Oxford dictionary of philosophy , which seems to be confirmed by the etymology of the term “suicide”, a term introduced around mid-17th century deduced from the modern Latin suicidium, ‘act of suicide’. Traditionally, suicide was regarded as immoral, irreligious and illegal in Western culture. However, during the 17th century this Christian view started (...)
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  2. Stoic Lessons in Liberation: Epictetus as Educator.William O. Stephens - manuscript
    My project examines the pedagogical approach of the Stoic Epictetus by focusing on seven vital lessons he imparts. This study will deepen our understanding of his vocation as a Stoic educator striving to free his students from the fears and foolishness that hold happiness hostage. These lessons are (1) how freedom, integrity, self-respect, and happiness interrelate; (2) real versus fake tragedy and real versus fake heroism; (3) the instructive roles that various animals play in Stoic education; (4) athleticism, sport, and (...)
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  3. The Rationality of Suicide and the Meaningfulness of Life.Michael Cholbi - forthcoming - In Iddo Landau (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life. Oxford University Press.
    A wide body of psychological research corroborates the claim that whether one’s life is (or will be) meaningful appears relevant to whether it is rational to continue living. This article advances conceptions of life’s meaningfulness and of suicidal choice with an eye to ascertaining how the former might provide justificatory reasons relevant to the latter. Drawing upon the recent theory of meaningfulness defended by Cheshire Calhoun, the decision to engage in suicide can be understood as a choice related to life’s (...)
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  4. Commentary on "Suicide, Euthanasia, and the Psychiatrist".Kelleher Michael J. - forthcoming - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 5 (2):145-149.
  5. Schopenhauer, Suicide, and Contemporary Pessimism.Michael Cholbi - 2022 - In Patrick Hassan (ed.), Schopenhauer’s Moral Philosophy. Routledge.
    Among contemporary philosophers, David Benatar espouses a form of pessimism most closely aligned with Schopenhauer’s. Both maintain that human existence is a misfortune, such that each of us would have been better off having never existed at all. Here my concerns are twofold: First, I investigate why, despite these similarities, Schopenhauer and Benatar arrive at divergent positions regarding suicide. For whereas Benatar concludes that suicide is sometimes a moral wrong to others but is prudentially rational in a wider array of (...)
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  6. Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives.Michael Cholbi & Travis Timmerman (eds.) - 2021 - Routledge.
  7. "Life" and "Death". An Inquiry Into Essential Meaning of These Phenomena.Andrii Leonov - 2021 - Actual Problems of Mind. Philosophy Journal 22 (22):108-136.
    In this paper, I am dealing with the phenomena of “life” and “death.” The questions that I attempt to answer are “What is life, and what is death?” “Is it bad to die?” and “Is there life after death?” The method that I am using in this paper is that of phenomenology. The latter I understand as an inquiry into meaning, that is, what makes this or that phenomenon as such. Thus, I am approaching the phenomena in question from the (...)
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  8. Life Worth Living (Rev. Edn).Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Filomena Maggino (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, 2nd edn. Springer. pp. 1-4.
    An updated version of this encyclopedia entry on the concept of what, if anything, makes life worthwhile.
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  9. Solace or Counsel for Death: Kant and Maria von Herbert.Bernhard Ritter - 2021 - In Corey W. Dyck (ed.), Women and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 137-156.
    This chapter presents new findings about Maria von Herbert's life. Building on this, an interpretation is offered of what she means when she calls upon Kant "for solace ... or for counsel to prepare [her] for death". It is then argued that Kant's reply is more satisfactory than is commonly appreciated, as he explicitly defines the roles which he is prepared to adopt – that of a "moral physician" and of a "mediator" -- and thus the standards by which to (...)
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  10. The Benefits of Being a Suicidal Curmudgeon: Emil Cioran on Killing Yourself.Glenn " Trujillo & Boomer" - 2021 - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (1):219-228.
    Emil Cioran offers novel arguments against suicide. He assumes a meaningless world. But in such a world, he argues, suicide and death would be equally as meaningless as life or anything else. Suicide and death are as cumbersome and useless as meaning and life. Yet Cioran also argues that we should contemplate suicide to live better lives. By contemplating suicide, we confront the deep suffering inherent in existence. This humbles us enough to allow us to change even the deepest aspects (...)
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  11. Thomas Macho: Das Leben nehmen – Suizid in der Moderne, Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag 2017, 531 S.Martin Arndt - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Religions- Und Geistesgeschichte 72 (2):231-233.
  12. Adam Smith and the Stoic Principle of Suicide.Getty L. Lustila - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):350-363.
    A substantial portion of Adam Smith's discussion of Stoicism in TMS VII is dedicated to the Stoic “principle of suicide,” according to which suicide is sometimes morally required. While scholars agree that Stoicism exercised considerable influence over Smith, no recent work has explored his views on suicide, despite the central role it plays in his treatment of Stoicism. I argue that Smith opposes the principle of suicide on both epistemic and moral grounds, providing an important critique of Stoicism. I also (...)
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  13. Against Recategorizing Physician-Assisted Suicide.Philip Reed - 2020 - Public Affairs Quarterly 34 (1):50-71.
    There is a growing trend among some physicians, psychiatrists, bioethicists, and other mental health professionals not to treat physician-assisted suicide (PAS) as suicide. The grounds for doing so are that PAS fundamentally differs from other suicides. Perhaps most notably, in 2017 the American Association of Suicidology argued that PAS is distinct from the behavior that their organization seeks to prevent. This paper compares and contrasts suicide and PAS in order to see how much overlap there is. Contrary to the emerging (...)
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  14. Suicidal Ideation Mediates the Relationship Between Affect and Suicide Attempt in Adolescents.Andrés Rubio, Juan Carlos Oyanedel, Marian Bilbao, Andrés Mendiburo-Seguel, Verónica López & Dario Páez - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Suicide, as one of the leading causes of death for the adolescent population, both in Chile and globally, remains a complex and elusive phenomenon. This research studies the association between positive and negative affect in relation with suicidal ideation and suicidal attempt, given that affectivity is a fundamental basis on which people make evaluations on their satisfaction with life. First, it examines the reliability, structure, and validity of Watson’s positive and negative affect scale scale in a representative random sample of (...)
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  15. Philosophical Perspectives on Suicide.Paolo Stellino - 2020 - Londra, Regno Unito: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book aims to address in a novel way some of the fundamental philosophical questions concerning suicide. Focusing on four major authors of Western philosophy - Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein - their arguments in favour or against suicide are explained, contextualized, examined and critically assessed. Taken together, these four perspectives provide an illuminating overview of the philosophical arguments that can be used for or against one’s right to commit suicide. Intended both for specialists and those interested in understanding the (...)
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  16. An Irrational Suicide?Jukka Varelius - 2020 - In Michael Cholbi & Travis Timmerman (eds.), Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives.
  17. Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing.Nathan Nobis - 2019 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Sadly, there are people in very bad medical conditions who want to die. They are in pain, they are suffering, and they no longer find their quality of life to be at an acceptable level anymore. -/- When people like this are kept alive by machines or other medical treatments, can it be morally permissible to let them die? -/- Advocates of “passive euthanasia” argue that it can be. Their reasons, however, suggest that it can sometimes be not wrong to (...)
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  18. Deep Uncertainties in the Criteria for Physician Aid-in-Dying for Psychiatric Patients.Piotr Grzegorz Nowak & Tomasz Żuradzki - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (10):54-56.
    In their insightful article, Brent Kious and Margaret Battin (2019) correctly identify an inconsistency between an involuntary psychiatric commitment for suicide prevention and physician aid in dying (PAD). They declare that it may be possible to resolve the problem by articulating “objective standards for evaluating the severity of others’ suffering,” but ultimately they admit that this task is beyond the scope of their article since the solution depends on “a deep and difficult” question about comparing the worseness of two possible (...)
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  19. Suffering at the End of Life.Jukka Varelius - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (1):195-200.
    In the end‐of‐life context, alleviation of the suffering of a distressed patient is usually seen as a, if not the, central goal for the medical personnel treating her. Yet it has also been argued that suffering should be seen as a part of good dying. More precisely, it has been maintained that alleviating a dying patient’s suffering can make her unable to take care of practical end‐of‐life matters, deprive her of an opportunity to ask questions about and find meaning in (...)
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  20. The Meaning of Killing. [REVIEW]Nicolas Delon - 2018 - Books and Ideas 2018.
    Why do we consider killing and letting someone die to be two different things? Why do we believe that a doctor who refuses to treat a terminally ill patient is doing anything less than administering a lethal substance? After all, the consequences are the same, and perhaps the moral status of these acts should be judged accordingly. -/- Reviewed: Jonathan Glover, Questions de vie ou de mort (Causing Death and Saving Lives), translated into French and introduced by Benoît Basse, Genève, (...)
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  21. Murdering an Accident Victim: A New Objection to the Bare-Difference Argument.Scott Hill - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):767-778.
    Many philosophers, psychologists, and medical practitioners believe that killing is no worse than letting die on the basis of James Rachels's Bare-Difference Argument. I show that his argument is unsound. In particular, a premise of the argument is that his examples are as similar as is consistent with one being a case of killing and the other being a case of letting die. However, the subject who lets die has both the ability to kill and the ability to let die (...)
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  22. Teaching ‘Small and Helpless’ Women How to Live: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in Sweden, Ca 1995–2005.Åsa Jansson - 2018 - History of the Human Sciences 31 (4):131-157.
    In 1995, a Swedish pilot study of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was launched to investigate its therapeutic efficacy and cost-effectiveness as treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in suicidal women. In the same year, a sweeping reform of psychiatric care commenced, dramatically reducing the number of beds by the end of the decade. The psychiatry reform was presented as an important factor prompting the need for a community-based treatment for Borderline patients. This article suggests that the introduction of DBT in Sweden, and (...)
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  23. Forever and Again: Necessary Conditions for “Quantum Immortality” and its Practical Implications.Alexey Turchin - 2018 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 28 (1).
    This article explores theoretical conditions necessary for “quantum immortality” (QI) as well as its possible practical implications. It is demonstrated that the QI is a particular case of “multiverse immortality” (MI) which is based on two main assumptions: the very large size of the Universe (not necessary because of quantum effects), and the copy-friendly theory of personal identity. It is shown that a popular objection about the lowering of the world-share (measure) of an observer in the case of QI doesn’t (...)
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  24. Reply to Nadler: Spinoza and the Metaphysics of Suicide.John Grey - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (2):380-388.
    Steven Nadler has argued that Spinoza can, should, and does allow for the possibility of suicide committed as a free and rational action. Given that the conatus is a striving for perfection, Nadler argues, there are cases in which reason guides a person to end her life based on the principle of preferring the lesser evil. If so, Spinoza’s disparaging statements about suicide are intended to apply only to some cases, whereas in others he would grant that suicide is dictated (...)
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  25. Can Suicide in the Elderly Be Rational?Lawrence Nelson & Erick Ramirez - 2017 - In Robert E. McCue & Meera Balasubramaniam (eds.), Rational Suicide in the Elderly Clinical, Ethical, and Sociocultural Aspects. Springer. pp. 1-21.
    In this chapter, we consider, and reject, the claim that all elderly patients’ desires for suicide are irrational. The same reasons that have led to a growing acceptance for the rationality of suicide in terminal cases should lead us to view other desires for suicide as possibly rational. In both cases, desires for suicide can and do materialize in the absence of mental illness. Furthermore, we claim that desires for suicide can remain rational even in the face of some mental (...)
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  26. Spinoza on Conatus, Inertia, and the Impossibility of Self-Destruction.Filip A. A. Buyse - 2016 - Society and Politics 10 (2):115-134.
    Spinoza (1632-1677) writes in the fourth proposition of the third part of his masterpiece, the Ethics (1677), the bold statement that self-destruction is impossible. This view seems to be very hard to understand given the fact that in our western world we have recently been confronted with an increasing number of suicides, all of which are - per definition – ―actions of killing oneself deliberately‖. Firstly, this article aims at showing, based on the last chapter of the first part of (...)
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  27. Commentary on Szmukler: Mental Illness, Dangerousness, and Involuntary Civil Commitment.Ken Levy & Alex Cohen - 2016 - In Daniel D. Moseley Gary J. Gala (ed.), Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections, and New Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 147-160.
    Prof. Cohen and I answer six questions: (1) Why do we lock people up? (2) How can involuntary civil commitment be reconciled with people's constitutional right to liberty? (3) Why don't we treat homicide as a public health threat? (4) What is the difference between legal and medical approaches to mental illness? (5) Why is mental illness required for involuntary commitment? (6) Where are we in our efforts to understand the causes of mental illness?
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  28. Rational Suicide in the Elderly.Robert E. McCue & Meera Balasubramaniam (eds.) - 2016 - Springer.
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  29. Mental Illness, Natural Death, and Non-Voluntary Passive Euthanasia.Jukka Varelius - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):635-648.
    When it is considered to be in their best interests, withholding and withdrawing life-supporting treatment from non-competent physically ill or injured patients – non-voluntary passive euthanasia, as it has been called – is generally accepted. A central reason in support of the procedures relates to the perceived manner of death they involve: in non-voluntary passive euthanasia death is seen to come about naturally. When a non-competent psychiatric patient attempts to kill herself, the mental health care providers treating her are obligated (...)
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  30. Life’s Meaning and Late Life Rational Suicide.Jukka Varelius - 2016 - In Robert E. McCue & Meera Balasubramaniam (eds.), Rational Suicide in the Elderly. Springer. pp. 83-98.
    Suicidal ideation would often appear to relate to ideas about life’s meaninglessness. In this chapter, I consider the suicidal thoughts of an elderly person in light of the recent philosophical discussion on the meaning of life. I start by distinguishing between two importantly different questions about life’s meaning and explaining how they differ from certain other issues sometimes treated as questions about the meaning of life. Then I address the two questions about life’s meaning in turn, connecting them to the (...)
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  31. Medically Enabled Suicides.Michael Cholbi - 2015 - In M. Cholbi J. Varelius (ed.), New Directions in the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Springer. pp. 169-184.
    What I call medically enabled suicides have four distinctive features: 1. They are instigated by actions of a suicidal individual, actions she intends to result in a physiological condition that, absent lifesaving medical interventions, would be otherwise fatal to that individual. 2. These suicides are ‘completed’ due to medical personnel acting in accordance with recognized legal or ethical protocols requiring the withholding or withdrawal of care from patients (e.g., following an approved advance directive). 3. The suicidal individual acts purposefully to (...)
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  32. No Last Resort: Pitting the Right to Die Against the Right to Medical Self-Determination.Michael Cholbi - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (2):143-157.
    Many participants in debates about the morality of assisted dying maintain that individuals may only turn to assisted dying as a ‘last resort’, i.e., that a patient ought to be eligible for assisted dying only after she has exhausted certain treatment or care options. Here I argue that this last resort condition is unjustified, that it is in fact wrong to require patients to exhaust a prescribed slate of treatment or care options before being eligible for assisted dying. The last (...)
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  33. Kant on Euthanasia and the Duty to Die: Clearing the Air.Michael Cholbi - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):607-610.
    Thanks to recent scholarship, Kant is no longer seen as the dogmatic opponent of suicide he appears at first glance. However, some interpreters have recently argued for a Kantian view of the morality of suicide with surprising, even radical, implications. More specifically, they have argued that Kantianism requires that those with dementia or other rationality-eroding conditions end their lives before their condition results in their loss of identity as moral agents, and requires subjecting the fully demented or those confronting future (...)
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  34. A Duty to Suicide.Dennis Cooley & Dennis R. Cooley - 2015 - In Dennis Cooley & Dennis R. Cooley (eds.), Death’s Values and Obligations: A Pragmatic Framework. Springer Verlag.
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  35. Professional Ethics in Extreme Circumstances: Responsibilities of Attending Physicians and Healthcare Providers in Hunger Strikes.Nurbay Irmak - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (4):249-263.
    Hunger strikes potentially present a serious challenge for attending physicians. Though rare, in certain cases, a conflict can occur between the obligations of beneficence and autonomy. On the one hand, physicians have a duty to preserve life, which entails intervening in a hunger strike before the hunger striker loses his life. On the other hand, physicians’ duty to respect autonomy implies that attending physicians have to respect hunger strikers’ decisions to refuse nutrition. International medical guidelines state that physicians should follow (...)
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  36. Dying (Every Day) with Dignity: Lessons From Stoicism.Massimo Pigliucci - 2015 - The Human Prospect 5 (1).
    Stoicism is an ancient Greco-Roman practical philosophy focused on the ethics of everyday living. It is a eudaemonistic (i.e., emphasizing one’s flourishing) approach to life, as well as a type of virtue ethics (i.e., concerned with the practice of virtues as central to one’s existence). This paper summarizes the basic tenets of Stoicism and discusses how it tackles the issues of death and suicide. It presents a number of exercises that modern Stoics practice in order to prepare for death (one’s (...)
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  37. Kant and Nietzsche on Suicide.Paolo Stellino - 2015 - Philosophical Inquiry 39 (2):79-104.
    This paper aims to develop the antagonism between Kant’s and Nietzsche’s views of suicide by focusing particularly on the relation between moralityand life. Whereas Kant establishes a primacy of morality over life and puts forward one main moral argument against the permissibility of suicide, Nietzsche reverses this hierarchical relation and gives to life a primacy over morality. The first two sections will be thus devoted to a critical examination of both positions, while in the third and last section the attention (...)
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  38. Minimally Intentional Suicide and “The Falling Man”.Eugene V. Torisky - 2015 - Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):69-79.
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  39. Mental Illness, Natural Death, and Non-Voluntary Passive Euthanasia.Jukka Varelius - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-14.
    When it is considered to be in their best interests, withholding and withdrawing life-supporting treatment from non-competent physically ill or injured patients – non-voluntary passive euthanasia, as it has been called – is generally accepted. A central reason in support of the procedures relates to the perceived manner of death they involve: in non-voluntary passive euthanasia death is seen to come about naturally. When a non-competent psychiatric patient attempts to kill herself, the mental health care providers treating her are obligated (...)
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  40. New Directions in the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.Jukka Varelius & Michael Cholbi (eds.) - 2015 - Springer Verlag.
    Introduction Cholbi, Michael (et al.) Pages 1-10 -/- Assisted Dying and the Proper Role of Patient Autonomy Bullock, Emma C. Pages 11-25 -/- Preventing Assistance to Die: Assessing Indirect Paternalism Regarding Voluntary Active Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Schramme, Thomas Pages 27-40 -/- Autonomy, Interests, Justice and Active Medical Euthanasia Savulescu, Julian Pages 41-58 -/- Mental Illness, Lack of Autonomy, and Physician-Assisted Death Varelius, Jukka Pages 59-77 -/- Euthanasia for Mental Suffering Raus, Kasper (et al.) Pages 79-96 -/- Assisted Dying for (...)
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  41. Re-Moralizing the Suicide Debate.Scott J. Fitzpatrick - 2014 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 11 (2):223-232.
    Contemporary approaches to the study of suicide tend to examine suicide as a medical or public health problem rather than a moral problem, avoiding the kinds of judgements that have historically characterised discussions of the phenomenon. But morality entails more than judgement about action or behaviour, and our understanding of suicide can be enhanced by attending to its cultural, social, and linguistic connotations. In this work, I offer a theoretical reconstruction of suicide as a form of moral experience that delineates (...)
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  42. The Rationality of Suicide Bombers: There is a Little Bit of Crazy in All of Us.Valerie Gray Hardcastle - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (4):371-372.
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  43. Suicidal Protests: Self-Immolation, Hunger Strikes, or Suicide Bombing.David Lester - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (4):372-372.
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  44. How Many Suicide Terrorists Are Suicidal?Clark McCauley - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (4):373-374.
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  45. La consideración moral del suicidio en el pensamiento de M. F. Sciacca.Hugo Marcos Ortiz - 2014 - Studium, Filosofía y Teología 34.
    For Michele Federico Sciacca, suicide should not be considered according to an immanent ethical order, comprising moral questions from the perspective of virtues owned by human beings as social subject. Instead, considered from the perspective of a 'moral intelligence' opened to Being as such, the suicidal act expresses a misrepresentation of what it is to be a human being according to its ontological structure, resulting in the absurd attempt of self-fulfilment inducing his own ontological ruin.
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  46. Giacinto Ricci Signorini tra scuola, poesia e psicologia.Rossano Pancaldi - 2014 - Otto/Novecento (2):5-43.
  47. Protest Suicide: A Systematic Model with Heuristic Archetypes.Scott Spehr & John Dixon - 2014 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 44 (3):368-388.
    Suicide as a form of political protest is a little studied social phenomenon that cannot be dismissed simply as being irrational or patholognomic. We consider protest suicide to be a meaningful social action as purposive political act intended to change oppressive policies or practices. This paper synthesizes theoretical propositions associated with suicide in general, and protest suicide in particular, so as to construct a general explanatory model of protest suicide as a social phenomenon. Then, it analyzes protest suicide as a (...)
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  48. Medical Expertise, Existential Suffering and Ending Life.Jukka Varelius - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (2):104-107.
    In this article, I assess the position that voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide ought not to be accepted in the cases of persons who suffer existentially but who have no medical condition, because existential questions do not fall within the domain of physicians’ professional expertise. I maintain that VE and PAS based on suffering arising from medical conditions involves existential issues relevantly similar to those confronted in connection with existential suffering. On that basis I conclude that if VE and PAS (...)
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  49. Respect and Rationality: The Challenge of Attempted Suicide.Ayesha Rachel Bhavsar - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics 13 (3):24-25.
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  50. Respect and Rationality: The Challenge of Attempted Suicide.Ayesha Rachel Bhavsar - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics: 13 (3):24 - 25.
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