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KANT’S FRAME OF REFERENCE CONCERNING SUICIDE

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher and one of the central thinkers of the enlightenment period. Kant’s comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy.

Any prudential suicide appears to be morally forbidden by Kant’s assertion that the rational will has absolute value or dignity. An adequate Kantian defence of prudential suicide must adhere to three constraints, despite the fact that previous appeals by Kantians to the idea that mental anguish or pain can compromise the dignity and justify suicide are unsuccessful. I present an account that complies with these restrictions here. The argument that some suicidal agents lack the pricelessness that contradicts prudential suicide from a Kantian perspective is at the heart of this account.

This is because some suicidal agents are unable to construct a rational conception of their own happiness. As a result, they are diminished in relation to their human dignity. According to Kant, it is a “very subtle question” of “how far we ought to treasure our life, and how far to risk it” (Cholbi, 2010). Sadly, he leaves us without a clear understanding of how to honour these subtleties.

 

Several alterations to Kantian orthodoxy are introduced by the defence of prudential suicide that I have outlined here. Particularly, they have argued that Kant’s classification of motives is too straightforward and that his conception of the value of human lives incorrectly reduces it to their rational capacity to act in accordance with moral principles. However, my argument is in line with a lot of what Kant says about suicide and morality in general: that it is wrong to commit suicide in order to avoid suffering; this is on the grounds that it regards the normal well as a way to the tendencies of self-esteem; that the greatest obstacle to fulfilling our moral obligations is self-love: that our dignity as agents is derived from our rational will; that there is a deduced moral regulation that applies to judicious creatures thusly; that it is wrong to treat ourselves as merely a means, even in the interest of our own well-being.

 

Dr Kumkum Rani
Department of Philosophy