Michael Cholbi, Duncan Pritchard (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract / Description of output

With the rise of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology around 1900, suicide has been more commonly seen as a medical or public health problem. Nevertheless, philosophers have shown interest in conceptual, moral, and psychological questions related to self-killing for thousands of years, and there remain a number of questions regarding suicide that are undeniably philosophical in nature. The central questions addressed in the philosophical literature include the definition of suicide, its moral status, the possibility of its rationality, the nature of suicidal motivation, our moral duties toward the suicidal, and the relation of suicide to life’s meaningfulness. Debates about the nature and morality of suicide were reinvigorated in the late 1900s, in no small measure because of shifts in how death occurs in today’s industrialized societies. Individuals now are more likely to be afflicted with chronic and degenerative diseases, and thanks to advanced medical technologies, it is now possible to delay death nearly indefinitely. These facts have helped to stimulate an extensive contemporary philosophical literature regarding individuals’ right to suicide, as well as reconsideration of the question of whether individuals may have a “duty to die” and our duties toward the suicidal.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
PublisherOxford Bibliographies
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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