Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant on Suicide

Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant on Suicide Essay example
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According to the World Health Organization, the highest is 71 people for every 100,000 who kill themselves annually in Lituania, 57 in Belarus, 51 in Kazakhstan, 48 in Latvia, and so on (“Suicide rates per 100,000 by country, year and sex”).


Whether this number of suicide cases is reasonable or not, it is assumed that when the act was committed and even only at that point, an individual had considered suicide as the most reasonable means of surviving the situation, and that the number of people who accept such an idea may in fact be increasing. The 18th century philosophers Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant constructed ethical principles that determined the rightness or wrongness of suicide. The act of suicide is not moral based on the ethical principles authored by Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant. Bentham’s philosophy is defined by the value of the action in terms of utility, which roughly translates as human benefit, and so suicide does not give a person any material benefit in the long run for it almost always results in death. For the British philosopher, the moral basis of an action is how much utility it affords the individual. This translates as pleasure and avoidance of pain according to “its intensity, its duration, its certainty or uncertainty, its propinquity or remoteness” (Perry & Bratham 485). Most people would contend that suicide may bring the individual peace and freedom from any more physical pain as he dies. However, committing suicide is also through pain itself, which is never a benefit to the individual. The intensity and duration of the act of suicide must be equivalent to the intensity and duration of pain that the person will experience. ...
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