Hume on Suicide
Hume, Thoughts on Suicide, Philosophy
This essay examines Hume’s attitude to suicide, in which he had an ongoing philosophical interest, as found in the dialogue at the end of An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, and in his brief essay on the topic. His attitude to, arguments, and views on suicide are placed in the context of his other writings and biographical elements from his own life. The views of other early modern thinkers to suicide, Locke, Kant, and Montaigne, are presented and their arguments evaluated for contrast and comparison with Hume’s views. The views of other writers, most notably the Stoics and St. Thomas Aquinas, are also examined to further elucidate Hume’s views. By carefully reconstructing and evaluating his argument, Hume’s line of reasoning on suicide is found to be out of harmony with his general moral philosophy. The major weakness of his argument is identified as the failure to realize the harm caused to others by suicide.
Original Publication Citation
“Hume on Suicide.” The European Legacy 18.5 (2013): 563-575.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Mower, Gordon, "Hume on Suicide" (2013). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 5.
The European Legacy