What is Wrong with “What is Wrong with Rational Suicide”

Philosophia 40 (2):285-293 (2012)
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In “What is Wrong with Rational Suicide,” Pilpel and Amsel develop a counterexample that allegedly confounds attempts to condition the moral permissibility of suicide on its rationality. In this counterexample, a healthy middle aged woman with significant life accomplishments, but no dependents, disease, or mental disorder opts to end her life painlessly after reading philosophical texts that persuade her that life is meaningless and bereft of intrinsic value. Many people would judge her suicide “a bad mistake” despite its meeting “robust” conditions for rationality. Hence, Pilpel and Amsel conclude, even robust conditions for the rationality of suicide “fail to do their job: to exclude intuitively unacceptable suicides from being permissible.” I argue here that this counterexample fails to cast doubt on philosophical attempts to account for the moral permissibility of suicide in terms of its rationality



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Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh

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References found in this work

On Liberty.John Stuart Mill - 1956 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 519-522.
Morality and Action.Warren Quinn - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
Against the Right to Die.J. David Velleman - 1992 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (6):665-681.
Morality and Action.Warren Quinn - 1993 - Philosophy 69 (270):513-515.
Is There a Right to Die?Leon R. Kass - 1993 - Hastings Center Report 23 (1):34-43.

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