God and Kant’s Suicide Maxim

Cultura 2 (18):27-53 (2021)
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Kant’s argument against suicide is widely dismissed by scholars and often avoided by teachers because it is deemed inconsistent with Kant’s moral philosophy. This paper attempts to show a way to make sense of Kant’s injunction against suicide that is consistent with his moral system. One of the strategies adopted in order to accomplish my goal is a de-secularization of Kant’s ethics. I argue that all actions of self-killing (or suicide) are morally impermissible because they are inconsistent with God’s established nature and order. It is argued that the existence of God as the locus of moral value and duty in Kant’s moral system, and not belief in God, can explain the consistency of Kant’s injunction against suicide. A synergistic view is offered, which rests on three arguments: First, suicide goes against God’s authority. Second, suicide is inconsistent with our self-perpetuating nature. Third, suicide goes against the rational will.

Author's Profile

Carlo Alvaro
New York City College of Technology (CUNY)


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