Author(s): Cooley DR
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Abstract Standard arguments for a duty to die or to commit suicide generally rely upon contractarian or other form of justice or the Principle of Beneficence. Even though some of these arguments might appear deontological, there is an explicit or implicit consequentialist common thread in all of them in which utility of some sort is maximized only through the taking of one's own life. Hence, most arguments for a suicide duty are consequentialist in nature. There are a number of relatively unexplored deontological arguments that make plausible cases for the mandatory taking of one's own life. For example, although Kant is widely thought to prohibit all suicides, a careful reading of his work can show a plausible case based on the Categorical Imperative. If it is necessary to preserve the individual's moral life, then everyone could will the generalized maxim governing the situation as a law of nature. Unfortunately, Kant's argument is weakened by his poor understanding of moral psychology. To strengthen Kant's case, care-relationship ethics can be combined with the argument to produce a plausible case that people are obligated to kill themselves if a number of criteria are satisfied. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Int J Law Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism