Year: 1994 Source: Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, v. 10 (1994), p.67-96 SIEC No: 20030345

This article examines differences between the Stoic & Epicurean schools of philosophy concerning suicide. The Stoics endorsed suicide in many circumstances, e.g. on behalf of a friend or the homeland or to avoid performing shameful actions. Stoics who were making progress towards virtue could see the possibility of dying by suicide as ensuring the means of dying calmly & like a sage. In contrast, Epicureans believed that suicide might be seen as an admission of defeat even for those in unendurable pain. The ideal for the Epicurean sage was to become invulnerable to fate & to master pleasure & pain to the extent that the former always outweighed the latter. The use of suicide was a possibility only in those rare cases where physical pain was so intense it could not be balanced out by pleasure. (89 notes)