The Morality of Suicide

Mohamed Husam Nashnoush, Muneeza Sheikh


The motivation behind attempting suicide ranges from egoistic to altruistic, with societal preconceptions varying significantly between the two. In this ethical review, moralist, relativist, and libertarian theories are utilized to explore the morality of suicide. The hedonistic act utilitarian theory, which assesses the righteousness of an action solely based on the amount of pleasure or displeasure it creates, is used to evaluate the morality of suicide. According to the beneficence principle, there is sometimes a moral justification for suicide to alleviate suffering. On the other hand, Mill’s rule utilitarianism views actions by their effect on overall human happiness and directs us to perform actions that maximize utility. For some individuals, like those undergoing immense suffering, the right to painless suicide would maximize utility. Kantian theory focuses on an individual’s duty to uphold honour, dignity, and rationality. Collectively, these three virtues set the foundation of Kantian deontology. Furthermore, the libertarian view emphasizes the inherent right of human beings to individual security, liberty, and property with minimum government intervention. Libertarians recognize that suicide can be a rational and reasonable response to intolerable suffering. The ethical theories have proven to be interdependent; together, they propel us toward a better understanding of the morality of suicide.

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