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Deconstructing DignityA Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate$
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Scott Cutler Shershow

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226088129

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226088266.001.0001

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Suicide and Sacrifice from Plato to Kant

Suicide and Sacrifice from Plato to Kant

(p.99) Chapter Six Suicide and Sacrifice from Plato to Kant
Deconstructing Dignity

Scott Cutler Shershow

University of Chicago Press

This chapter further contextualizes the contemporary debate about a right to die by considering a few highlights of the philosophic approach to the question of suicide in general. Although nearly all major western philosophers argue that suicide is ethically impermissible, they commonly also allow a single exception: self-sacrifice. Thus an otherwise unconditional prohibition of suicide is commonly qualified by the possibility that some deaths may be recuperated as sacrificial value. The chapter elaborates this point via brief remarks on the modern sociological approach to suicide that begins with Durkheim, and then by considering Plato’s Phaedo, and texts by Locke and Kant.

Keywords:   Suicide, Sacrifice, Plato, Phaedo, Durkheim, Locke, Kant, Doctrine of Double Effect

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