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Is suicide morally permissable?

 
 
rockpie
 
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 07:48 am
I think so in certain circumstances, but still I'd tend to agree with the view that suicide is not the want to ends one's own life, but rather the last resort means of escaping one's own trauma.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 6,203 • Replies: 34
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 08:42 am
@rockpie,
Quote:
Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") has three principal meanings.

In its first, descriptive usage, morality means a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong. Morals are created by and define society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience.

In its second, normative and universal sense, morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions. To deny 'morality' in this sense is a position known as moral skepticism.[1]

In its third usage, 'morality' is synonymous with ethics, the systematic philosophical study of the moral domain.[2] wiki


Which definition are you using?

While I agree with you that the goal is selfish, I don't see where morality comes into play at all.
rockpie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 09:51 am
@JPB,
the 2nd definition in that does suicide conflict with an ideal code of conduct, is it an acceptable act for any rational being to do, is it possible to be a rational moral agent and commit suicide, etc.

in terms of it being selfish, i wasn't really saying that. what i was pointing out is that no person could ever commit suicide in terms of only wanting to die. there are always other factors that have driven somebody to a point where death seems the only plausible solution. an example of an unselfish suicide is if a soldier throws himself onto a grenade in the battlefield to save his friends.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:03 am
@rockpie,
I think you've just contradicted yourself. If you're using the second definition, "morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions", then suicide would be deemed an irrational act.

But then you said that no person could commit suicide in terms of only wanting to die and that other factors have driven a person to this end. That would be a rational thought process to what, by your preferred definition, is an irrational act.

I do believe suicide is a selfish act. But I also believe that some selfish acts are perfectly justified, even within the realm of rationality. A terminally ill patient who chooses to put an end to their suffering is one such example.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:28 am
@rockpie,
Yes, suicide is morally permissable. It's my life to end, so I can choose to end it without asking anyone's permission. It's that simple.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:32 am
@Thomas,
That's why I asked about which definition he was using, Thomas. Your position relates more to the first definition of morality (right and wrong) rather than rationality.

For what it's worth -- I agree with your position, but the focus on I, my, and mine is why I believe it's a selfish act. Again, selfish acts are not always wrong in the balance of right and wrong. This would be one such case.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:39 am
First, one must examine what is behind the suicide and birth control prohibitions.

Cults and religions forbade suicide and birth control to increase the number of their followers to protect their power, and to complete with other cults and religions.

This history has prevailed despite the changing world and it's populations. We are over-populating the planet.

BBB
0 Replies
 
flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:40 am
@JPB,
Not only do I beleve it to be morally acceptable, I do not beleve that it is always selfish. One might believe that the mourning one's loved ones might have to endure is outweighed by the suffering they may endure watching him waste away from some degenerative disease.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:49 am
@flyboy804,
If the loved ones were the ones advocating the suicide then I would agree. I wouldn't like them very much, but I agree that in the case when someone kills themselves at someone else's bidding then it is an unselfish act. Someone taking his own life so that he doesn't contribute to the suffering of others may very well be a kindness on his part but it's still selfish, imo. Again --- selfishness does not alway carry a negative connotation.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:54 am
@JPB,
On the other hand, not ending one's life to prevent suffering by those who loves s/he might be held to be selfish.

BBB
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:59 am
In traditional Japanese society honor and duty were all important. If you violated the code of honor, it reflected badly on yourself, your family, and your clan. Committing suicide--seppuku, hara kiri--wiped out that stain. Different code of morality, to be sure, but moral under the rules people lived by. So the definitions proposed above with "all rational people" don't apply to actually ALL people, but rather just the ones who live by your code of morality and make decisions based on it.

Suicide bombers and soldiers who throw themselves on grenades to save their buddies are also making rational, moral-under-their-code decisions to commit suicide based on what they perceive to be the greatest good or the ultimate good.
We may not share those codes, but under theirs it's permissible.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:05 am
@rockpie,
I think it's morally permissible under definition 2, too. If my life is more trouble to me than it's worth, I am better off without it. This may be a selfish perspective -- but then again, I have no moral problem with selfishness, either.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:17 am
@Thomas,
But would all rational people agree with you? You and I agree, you and I are rational (we hope), but a sample of two doesn't cut it.

This may be an excellent example of changing moralities. Bringing the idea that BBB first mentioned into the discussion, suicide was considered amoral for reasons of religious growth and preservation of the species. In today's world we are no longer worried about preservation of the species so the aversion to suicide by society falls to religion. As fewer people accept religious dogma without questioning the benefit then perhaps more people will reject the amorality of the act.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:18 am
@JPB,
You are so smart, JPB.

BBB
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:25 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Thank you, BBB
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:28 am
@MontereyJack,
Quote:
So the definitions proposed above with "all rational people" don't apply to actually ALL people, but rather just the ones who live by your code of morality and make decisions based on it.


Good point. But, does one get to self-exclude from the group? Who defines the group? The suicide bombers feel justified in their actions by their moral code but when their actions infringe on the lives of others then are they really making a moral choice?
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:30 am
@JPB,
JPB, I think you're a dingbat, the fact that I agree with you and Thomas does not alter that. Thomas is also a dingbat.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:34 am
@dyslexia,
Yeah, but I'm a smart dingbat Razz
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:45 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
But would all rational people agree with you? You and I agree, you and I are rational (we hope), but a sample of two doesn't cut it.

No, not all rational people would agree with me. Specifically, I expect lots of disagreement from rational people whose morals are shaped by one of the Abrahamic traditions. If you require universal agreement, you won't find any moral norm on suicide one way or the other.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:47 am
@dyslexia,
Same here. But aren't you supposed to sit besides the Grand Canyon enjoying nature these days?
 

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