Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 S - Suicide


Suicide : Killing oneself.

Some, like Camus, have claimed that philosophy is basically concerned with the question of whether one should commit suicide or not; others, like Christian theologians, have insisted that suicide is and should be forbidden, and should be punishable by law, indeed perhaps by a more horrible death than a suicidal person desired; yet others, like the Stoics, have insisted that suicide may be an honorable human response to an unlivable situation, such as a dictatorship, the threat of torture, or an incurable painful disease, like various kinds of cancer.

My own attitude is most like the last, and indeed I do insist that human beings are and should be free to take their own lives, if they find themselves in unbearable situations, as may well happen to everyone.

It follows that I am a proponent of euthanasia, provided this is based on the free will of the person, who is not insane and capable of rational judgment. And it also follows that I oppose those who oppose suicide or euthanasia on religious grounds: You are free to believe that your dear Lord has forbidden you to commit suicide and to live through all horrors of, say, bone-cancer, before you will be admitted in God's paradise, but you are and should be emphatically not free to impose the consequences from your own beliefs on others who have other beliefs than you have, for that in fact is little different from dictatorship in matters of ideas and behavior. Indeed, if you happen to be right about your theology - as is highly unlikely - then your dear lord no doubt will dispose wisely after one's death, when all will discover which divinities exist, if they are there to discover anything at all (as I do not believe).


See also: Euthanasia, Faith, Pessimism, Religion



 Original: Mar 9, 2005                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top