An Analysis of Hume’s Essay “On Suicide”
Beauchamp T L
The argument provided is primarily philosophical and only secondarily interpretative and historical. The strengths and weaknesses of Hume’s arguments regarding suicide are examined. It is contended that although Hume’s main arguments against other philosophers (especially Aquinas) contain serious weaknesses, some of Hume’s supporting arguments are more successful. In particular, his anti-theological arguments are found to be unconvincing, but his utilitarian arguments for the moral permissibility of suicide are judged more adequate.