Choosing Not to Live vs Choosing to be Killed

Added comment: This post brings out that opposition to assisted suicide presupposes a soul seperable from the body, a God who sets a destiny for humans and holds the soul in existence for that destiny to be attained. With these presuppositions, opposition to assisted suicide is religious. Because of the immense amount of suffering in illnesses and aging, utilitarian considerations would justify assisted suicides.

I have argued that choosing assisted suicide presupposes the nihilistic outlook that human life has no purpose. At biological death the individual vanishes. Moral nihilism is part of this nihilistic stance. Since morality has no point, it really does not matter what we do. The good and the bad meet the same fate of simply vanishing into atoms in the void. I intended the argument to be strong in the sense that this nihilism was a logical consequence of choosing suicide or to be killed. Necessarily someone choosing suicide,who thought clearly and in depth, would think nihilism is correct.

Added October 3, 2022: See Philosophical Arguments as Guides to Reality for an important correction to what I intend to accomplish with philosophical arguments.

In fact, though, people might choose assisted suicide without thinking through the issues. Such people might very likely neither think nor feel nihilistic despite choosing to be killed.

I have also argued that a choice of assisted suicide is immoral. Can I consistently make a living will specifying that no extra ordinary means be used to keep me alive? Can I consistently choose not to live without presupposing nihilism?

In preparation for this post, I worked through an on-line living will form. I specified that I wanted no ventilators, feeding tubes or dialysis. I allowed transfusions and medication because I thought they were ordinary means for keeping some alive. My thought was to avoid any restriction on medical treatment which seemed too close to directly stopping my life.

Reflection on my thinking reveals that I distinguish my biological life from my being a moral agent. A moral agent has obligations; and most importantly, a way he or she ought to be. From the moment of conception, a human has a way he or she ought to be. The crucial premise in my argument against suicide, referenced above, holds: Under no conditions am I permitted to choose not to be a morally correct human being.

Admittedly, I did not aim at keeping my biological life at all costs. So, I did not aim at the good of biological life. Neither, did I aim at stopping the good of biological life. I refused to stop the good of biological life, because I aimed at maintaining my moral being a morally correct human being.

I have given a Kantian argument for imperishability of the soul.This soul is our moral being – the way we ought to be.

The purpose of these posts on choosing death is to uncover presuppositions on letting oneself die without immorality or nihilism. The way sketched above brings out that in this instance the divinity dimension of divine command morality is used. I assume a soul distinct from the body which is the way one ought to be. To let oneself die without aiming at destroying ones soul, which is nihilism, one needs to assume that God keeps the soul in existence to become what it ought to be.

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Choosing Not to Live vs Choosing to be Killed

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