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Of Suicide by Hume

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In some instances it is in our best interest to intervene in nature to end our own lives, based on this same line of reasoning. Secondly, with regard to the laws of nature wiled by God, which reason allows us to discover for the purposes of securing our happiness, then certainly there are instances that it is reasonable to end our own lives, when such is in the spirit of procuring our better well-being and happiness, as in the case of extreme illness and irremediable distress. Thirdly, with regard to God’s consent, the universal principle that Hume applies is that in essence God consents to all of our actions, unless he decides to stop them, in which case suicide would not have been possible.

If in the course of our lives we decide to end this life, then God must be cooperative of this decision, in the same way that he implicitly cooperates with all of our other actions by virtue of his implicit consent (Hume). Finally with regard to how suicide does not go against our duty to other people, Hume employes the principle of reciprocal benefit, and in the case where a person for instance is no longer of service or value to others, and is himself unable to care for his own self, then it becomes a virtuous act to end one’s life.

Moreover, the principle of reciprocal benefit ends where on balance a person continues to benefit others and continues to exist in spite of great personal discomfort and great suffering, in which case the benefit is just one way, and therefore that man ceases to derive benefit from society.

In this case then it doe snot contravene one’s duties to others to end one’s life, from the principle of reciprocally-derived value. Therefore, all things considered, and from these set of largely intellectual arguments that are based on principles of reciprocal value, self-interest, and rational appreciation of the implications of the natural laws and the will of God, Hume concludes that suicide is not an act of wickedness, and that one can therefore commit suicide without any sense of guilt or of personal blame for the act (Cholbi; Hume; Holden).

Weighing In On the Cogency of Hume’s Arguments This paper weighs in on the lucidity, the logical merits, and whether the arguments by Hume have the power to persuade definitely and convincingly. This is what we mean by weighing on the cogency of Hume’s arguments, of whether the arguments above are cogent or not. There are certainly some arguments within the body of arguments presented by Hume in defense of suicide as an act that can be undertaken with no guilt.

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