In defence of Kant's moral prohibition on suicide solely to avoid suffering

Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (9):655-657 (2008)

Abstract

In Ian Brassington’s article in a previous issue of this journal, he argues that suicide for the purpose of avoiding suffering is not, as Kant has contended, contrary to the moral law. Brassington’s objections are not cogent because they rely upon the exegetically incorrect premise that according to Kant the priceless value of personhood is in the noumenal world that we have no perception of. On the basis of Kant’s normative, metaphysical and epistemological theory, I argue, contrary to Brassington, that according to Kant personhood’s moral value is explicitly in the sensible, phenomenal realm. While I argue that suicide solely to avoid suffering is immoral, I show that Kant’s normative system allows some acts of suicide to be morally permissible. In the course of the discussion of the value of humanity’s rationality and the immorality of suicide, I will discuss the broader modern medical ethical implications of Kant’s arguments, such as the moral impermissibility of using rationality depriving drugs, such as ketamine, solely to avoid pain

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-24

Downloads
61 (#191,042)

6 months
1 (#386,031)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Gerard Vong
Emory University

References found in this work

The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Practical Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1788 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Kant's Transcendental Idealism.Henry E. Allison - 1988 - Yale University Press.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2000 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.
Is There a Justifiable Shoot-to-Kill Policy?Shahrar Ali - 2010 - In Bob Brecher, Mark Devenney & Aaron Winter (eds.), Discourses and Practices of Terrorism. Routledge.
Assisted Suicide, Suffering and the Meaning of a Life.Miles Little - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (3):287-298.
Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2013 - International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
Innocence and Suicide.George I. Mavrodes - 1999 - Faith and Philosophy 16 (3):315-335.
The Problem of Evil and a Plausible Defence.Frank J. Murphy - 1995 - Religious Studies 31 (2):243-250.
Harm in the Wild: Facing Non-Human Suffering in Nature. [REVIEW]Beril İdemen Sözmen - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):1075-1088.
Permitting Suicide of Competent Clients in Counseling Legal and Moral Considerations.Elliot D. Cohen - 2000 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (2):259-273.
Suffering and Moral Responsibility.Jamie Mayerfeld - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
A Kantian Defense of Prudential Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2010 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (4):489-515.
Theory and Practice.James Rachels - 2001 - In Lawrence C. Becker Mary Becker & Charlotte Becker (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd edition. Routledge.