Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):607-610 (2015)

Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh
Thanks to recent scholarship, Kant is no longer seen as the dogmatic opponent of suicide he appears at first glance. However, some interpreters have recently argued for a Kantian view of the morality of suicide with surprising, even radical, implications. More specifically, they have argued that Kantianism requires that those with dementia or other rationality-eroding conditions end their lives before their condition results in their loss of identity as moral agents, and requires subjecting the fully demented or those confronting future dementia to non-voluntary euthanasia. Properly understood, Kant’s ethics has neither of these implications. wrongly assumes that rational agents’ duty of self-preservation entails a duty of self-destruction when they become non-rational. further neglects Kant’s distinction between duties to self and duties to others and wrongly assumes that duties can be owed to rational agents only during the time of their existence.
Keywords Kant  suicide  euthanasia  duty to ide
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2013-101781
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Kantian Moral Duty for the Soon-to-Be Demented to Commit Suicide.Dennis R. Cooley - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (6):37 – 44.
Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Sasha Mudd - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):281-286.
Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2000 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

To Die or Not to Die: A Kantian Perspective on Euthanasia.Navin Sinha - 2021 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 39 (1):13-24.
Zelfdoding En de Waarde van Een Rationeel Leven.Fleur Jongepier - 2018 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 110 (4):453-472.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2000 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.
Kantian Practical Love.Melissa Seymour Fahmy - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):313-331.
A Direct Kantian Duty to Animals.Michael Cholbi - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):338-358.
Euthanasia and Common Sense: A Reply to Garcia.G. Seay - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (3):321-327.
Euthanasia and Physicians' Moral Duties.Gary Seay - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):517 – 533.
Kant on the Perfection of Others.Lara Denis - 1999 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):25-41.
The Murderer at the Door: What Kant Should Have Said.Michael Cholbi - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):17-46.


Added to PP index

Total views
289 ( #36,856 of 2,506,011 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #63,697 of 2,506,011 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes