Beyond Price
Velleman (David)
Source: Ethics, Vol. 118, No. 2 (January 2008), pp. 191-212
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Kant argued that suicide is immoral when committed for the purpose of escaping from unhappiness. I have tried on one or two occasions to reconstruct Kant's argument, by offering a particular interpretation of the Formula of Humanity, which says that a person has a value that makes him an end in himself.
  2. The statement that a person is an end, I interpret as expressing the fact that we ought to care about some things for the person's sake, by caring about them out of concern for him. A person is an end in the sense that he is that for the sake of which — out of concern for which — some things are worth caring about.
  3. This conception of how a person can be an end yields an argument against escapist suicide, I argued, when it is combined with a particular conception of a person's good, which is what the escapist attempts to serve by his own death.


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