Lecture 25 - Suicide, Part II: Deciding under uncertainty

author: Shelly Kagan, Department of Philosophy, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 12, 2010,   recorded: April 2007,   views: 11834
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

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The discussion of suicide continues. A few more cases are introduced to consider circumstances under which it might be rational to end one's life, and more graphs are drawn that show relevant variations in the quality of one's life. A question is then posed about how one should make a decision about continuing or ending life, given that one cannot know the future with certainty. Finally, two quick moral arguments concerning suicide which rest on theological premises are presented.

Reading assignment:

Hume, David. "On Suicide." In Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary.

Brandt, Richard. "The Morality and Rationality of Suicide." In Moral Problems. Edited by James Rachels. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.


Figures 25.1-25.5 [PDF]
David Hume, "On Suicide" Courtesy of David Banach, St. Anselm College

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