European Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):350-363 (2020)

Getty Lustila
Northeastern University
A substantial portion of Adam Smith's discussion of Stoicism in TMS VII is dedicated to the Stoic “principle of suicide,” according to which suicide is sometimes morally required. While scholars agree that Stoicism exercised considerable influence over Smith, no recent work has explored his views on suicide, despite the central role it plays in his treatment of Stoicism. I argue that Smith opposes the principle of suicide on both epistemic and moral grounds, providing an important critique of Stoicism. I also show how Smith departs from other early modern accounts of suicide by offering a notably humane analysis of this tragic act. I conclude by considering what Smith's discussion of Stoicism and suicide tells us about his moral theory, and I forward a reading of Smith as a skeptic.
Keywords Adam Smith  Stoicism  Suicide  History of Ethics  Early Modern Philosophy
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DOI 10.1111/ejop.12484
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Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism.Brad Inwood - 1985 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 179 (3):367-368.
Scepticism and Ethics.Richard Bett - 2010 - In Richard Arnot Home Bett (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Scepticism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 181.

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