The rationality of suicide and the meaningfulness of life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


A wide body of psychological research corroborates the claim that whether one’s life is (or will be) meaningful appears relevant to whether it is rational to continue living. This chapter advances conceptions of life’s meaningfulness and of suicidal choice with an eye to ascertaining how the former might provide justificatory reasons relevant to the latter. Drawing upon the recent theory of meaningfulness defended by Cheshire Calhoun, the decision to engage in suicide can be understood as a choice related to life’s meaningfulness insofar as an individual can see no point in investing her agency in her anticipated future. These meaning-based reasons relevant to suicidal choice either cannot be reduced to the reasons of well-being that philosophers have typically used to analyse suicide decisions or at least forms a distinct class of reasons within those that contribute to well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Meaning in Life
EditorsIddo Landau
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic) 9780190063535
ISBN (Print)9780190063504
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks


  • agency
  • Camus
  • Cheshire Calhoun
  • meaning in life
  • rationality
  • suicide
  • time
  • well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'The rationality of suicide and the meaningfulness of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this