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Philosophia

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 111–123 | Cite as

What is Wrong with Rational Suicide

  • Avital Pilpel
  • Lawrence Amsel
Article

Abstract

Recently, the ‘right to die’ became a major social issue. Few agree suicide is a right tout court. Even those who believe suicide (‘regular’, passive, or physician-assisted) is sometimes morally permissible usually require that a suicide be ‘rational suicide’: instrumentally rational, autonomous, due to stable goals, not due to mental illness, etc. We argue that there are some perfectly ‘rational suicides’ that are, nevertheless, bad mistakes. The concentration on the rationality of the suicide instead of on whether it is a mistake may lead to permitting suicides that should be forbidden.

Keywords

Rational suicide Decision theory Medical ethics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Prof. Giora Hon, Prof. Saul Smilansky (both from the Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa) and two anonymous reviewers for advice and helpful criticism.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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