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The Metaphysics and Ethics of DeathNew Essays$
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James Stacey Taylor

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751136

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751136.001.0001

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Suicide: A Qualified Defense

Suicide: A Qualified Defense

(p.222) 13 Suicide: A Qualified Defense
The Metaphysics and Ethics of Death

David Benatar

Oxford University Press

I begin by considering and rejecting a number of common arguments against suicide, concluding that it is sometimes morally permissible. I then broaden my defence of suicide, arguing that it is rational and morally permissible much more often than is usually thought to be the case. To this end, I argue that while some people do underestimate the quality of their lives, the much more common mistake is to overestimate one’s quality of life. I then argue that because none of us could have consented to being brought into existence, it is especially important that each one of us at least have the option of ceasing to exist if he or she would rather not endure the hardships that life presents. Finally, I consider the Epicurean argument against the badness of death.

Keywords:   suicide, quality of life, death, Epicurean

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