Jean Améry pp 237-259 | Cite as

Jean Améry: Suicide, the Refusal to Heal, and Humanistic Freedom

  • Grace CampbellEmail author


This chapter focuses on the philosophical importance of Jean Améry’s essay collection On Suicide. Améry defends suicide as an act of freedom. Freely choosing to commit suicide is an example of the uniquely human ability to act spontaneously and to reject the inertia of the logic of life. I argue that this represents the conclusion of Améry’s philosophical system. Améry’s defense of suicide is also his ultimate challenge to norms that coerce well-being, the logic of the everyday, and the natural progression of history. However, this challenge is performed within a system that is firmly grounded in Enlightenment notions of autonomy and human freedom. Consequently, On Suicide sheds light on the tensions between Améry’s defense of progress, autonomy, and humanism and his rejection of compulsory healing and flourishing.


Suicide Logic of life Resentment Enlightenment thinking 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Historical and Philosophical EnquiryUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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