The Rationality of Suicide and the Meaningfulness of Life

In Iddo Landau (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life. Oxford University Press. pp. 445-460 (2022)
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Abstract

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 article 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.

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Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh

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References found in this work

The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Behaviorism 15 (1):73-82.
Meaning in Life and Why It Matters.Susan Wolf - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):280-281.
Death and the Afterlife.Samuel Scheffler - 2013 - New York, NY: Oup Usa.

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