The Right to Die

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AP PHIL 1100: Meaning of Life

June 7th 2012

In this paper, I will talk about the topic of suicide. I will first of all explain the basics of Hume’s defense of suicide then Kant’s argument against suicide. I will then argue that Kant proposition is not convincing due to the lack of evidence and his arguments are also contradicting. In the following, I will defense Hume’s opinion. Nevertheless, there are also a few points that I need to raise objection to. With Philosophy, David Hume (1874-1875) provides a cure for superstition and false religion on the topic of suicide (291). He argues that self-annihilation is morally approvable and it is not a transgression of our duties against God, the society or ourselves. He (1874-1875) notes “human life depends upon the general laws of matter and motion, and that it is no encroachment on the office of providence to disturb or alter these general laws”(294). If cutting trees from their course is allowed for human benefits, then there is no reason why changing my own natural course for my benefit is a crime. Some argues that human life is important and that only God has the right to deal with. If that is true, then dodging the massive branch from the tree that I have just cut from falling on my head should also be a crime because I went against the order of nature by extending my life. Hence, “a hair, a fly, an insect is able to destroy this mighty whose life is of such important”(294). Moreover, if God owns my life and it is my duty to protect it, then there is no one so called hero. He is indeed a criminal for putting an end to a life that does not belong to him. Furthermore, according to Hume (1874-1875), “I owe my birth to a long chain of causes, of which many depended upon voluntary actions of men”(296). If this chain of causes is among God’s plan then, my death should be too. It is blasphemous to even think that I can do anything without God’s agreement. In addition, after my death, I have not leave the post where God has placed me; every tissues and muscles of my lifeless body are still performing their wonder duty. Consequently, Hume (1874-1875) I thank God for the gift of life and the gift of the right to put an end to my misery life (295). Hume also argues that suicide is not a breach of duty to the society. People who suicide are usually in some situation that instead of doing good to society, they have became a hindrance for people who are beneficial for the it. To put an end to their life means they have stop being a hindrance and also stop doing good for the society. If this would consider a crime then it should be the most harmless one. Hume also underlines that if I can retire of his job because of my age or illness, I can also retire from life, from the society altogether because of my miseries. Moreover, “I am not obliged to do a small good to society at the expense of a great harm to myself” (297). Hume also demonstrate that self-annihilation is not a breach of duty towards ourselves. He (1874-1875) states that no one would suicide if there is not a reason for it or if his life is still worth living (297). While age, sickness, or misfortune may make our life worse than death and it’s not a crime why freeing ourselves from these is a crime? He (1874-1875) concludes “ tis the only way that we can then be useful to society, by setting an example, which, if imitated, would preserve to every one his chance for happiness in life and would effectually free him from all danger or misery” (197). Kant (1930) on the other hand, is strongly against self-annihilation to escape misery. It is actually a self-contradictory act. Free will is employed for suicide but a person has to exist to have free will and the person destroys his free will in the process. The use of life to terminate life itself is self-contradictory (300). Although, there are cases where suicide is acceptable. Cases when it is the only way to preserve one’s dignity, virtue or when there are...
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