Give an account of the ethical arguments in support of suicide.

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Give an account of the ethical arguments in support of suicide. [35]

In a broad sense suicide can be defined as, “the act of intentionally ending your life.” However, there are many different types of suicide. Durkheim identified four kinds: egoistic suicide, which is the result of feeling one’s life is meaningless; altruistic suicide, the act of giving one’s life for the greater good; anomic suicide, the result of a major social change that disrupts a person’s sense of order; and fatalistic suicide, the results of excessive regulation, when one’s future is pitilessly blocked by oppressive discipline, such as in a prison or dictatorship. When considering arguments in support of suicide, a good place to start is the sovereignty of the individual. John Stuart Mill commented, “over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

Suicide is an issue of personal autonomy. Personal autonomy is the capacity to decide for oneself and pursue a course of action in one's life, often regardless of any particular moral content. Suicide is the ultimate expression of autonomy, as argued by Seneca: “the one act where the individual can decisively exercise his autonomy.” It should be up to the individual to decide when they wish to die, and it should not be dictated by anyone else. Seneca was a Stoic. The Stoics accepted that suicide was permissible for the wise person in circumstances that might prevent them from living a virtuous life. Suicide could be justified if one fell victim to severe pain or disease, but otherwise suicide would usually be seen as a rejection of one's social duty.
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Furthermore, Hume was another writer who believed that suicide could be ethically justified. He wrote, “a man who retires from life does no harm to society: he only ceases to do good.” David Hume was attempting to refute the idea that suicide was a sin against God. Hume argues that suicide is no more a rebellion against God than is saving the life of someone who would otherwise die, or changing the position of anything in one's surroundings. Hume claims that suicide can be compared to retiring from society and becoming a total recluse, which is not normally ...

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