David Hume on Suicide: Critical Essay

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Critically assess Humes's argument against Aquinas's stance on the moral permissibility of suicide. Why does Aquinas think it's morally forbidden? Why does Hume Disagree who do you think offers a more defensible position and why? Humes's arguments against Aquinas and their stance on the moral permissibility of suicide and why Aquinas thinks it's morally forbidden and why Hume may disagree will be discussed within the essay below and my thought on who I believe has a more defensible position and why? Hume examines his attitude on suicide as it becomes a back-and-forth philosophical interest which is shown within an inquiry highlighting the principle of morals, Hume believes that suicide, the taking of one’s life has no effect on society, and when a human takes their own life they have the right too as once we die we don’t gain the same benefits from society which we may have had when we were alive. This means once the living part is way to the dead all obligations are dropped any obligations that we may have are limited in Humes's terms. Hume also believes we should respect individual autonomy including one's right to choice of when and how they give up the right to life. I believe every human has the right to take one life as Life is a gift given to us By God or our parents to live after them on earth until we die which Is similar to how Humes feels on the stance of life however I disagree that the death of someone doesn’t have an effect on society as Humes contradicts himself by saying highlighting society doesn’t won't be affected, but we have the right to take our own lives as we don’t gain any benefits from society as a living being which I disagree with as society benefits from every human being as every human contributes to the well being of society even with little things if one person dies that’s one less person to contribute in the making of society so suicide does affect society as it’s a death that reduces the growth of society as life and the population of human beings help make society. Humes believes when you die all obligations of the living had been dropped I believe this is true s the dead cant continue their obligations once parted however that doesn’t mean that the obligations are dropped as they are simply passed down to the next of kin. 

Thomas Aquinas highlights in the Summa Theological, 1-11 Q64, Art 5 that suicide is morally impermissible as it violates these three duties: one’s obligations to God, to others, and one’s self. Hume then responds by disagreeing and identifying the inconsistencies of Aquinas's theory against suicide. Humes's argument is broken down into four parts 1. One can act to dispose of one’s life 2. One can act to preserve one’s life 3. Both 1 and 2 invade the province of God 4. Invading the province of God is impermissible. Hume is trying to highlight to the reader that we have no reason in believing some actions invade God's province, suggesting to Aquinas that both ways won't work. 

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Hume also believes if suicide was a violation of God's prow then laws would be created to prevent suicide, as animals roam the earth with the given knowledge and wisdom that God has given them allowing them to do anything they want according to the limit of nature. As animals would be killed or attempted by a variety of disasters like predates natural disasters and illness. Aquinas believes suicide is an encroachment on God's province as discussed earlier and is considered a sin as suicide that disputes God however, Hume argues if suicide is such a displeasing then the world that God created is a system of rules and guidance for mankind to follow would prevent suicide. As a Christian, I understand the view of Aquinas as suicide is a sin and I understand that suicide would violate the Gods prows as suicide is dropping one early obligation and obligation to God however if life is a Gift then can't we do as we please without disrespecting the one who gave it to us?. And if that’s not possible then life isn’t a gift given to us to begin with and our duties on earth would be to serve and commit to our lives. Humes would argue that God would prevent the ability to suicide however the Bible says Man has free will to do as they please given to by God from my understanding the right to suicide is optional however no scripture in the bible suggests suicide is wrong as it shows stories of people who committed suicide but God didn’t punish them after death or prevent it, Yet it’s important to note that nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that the act of suicide, no matter how tragic, is an unforgivable sin. If you are a believer in Christ, you will go to heaven. The Bible is clear that sin which cannot be forgiven is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and the refusal to believe in Christ. (Mark 3:29) 

To conclude I believe Hume thinks Aquinas perspective of the world is flawed and not just his position on suicide as Hume believes if it's such a problem the Godly laws that govern the world would prevent anything not just suicide is considered a sin breaking Gods rules or wrongs in the eyes of God. Hume's aim is to highlight how absurd Aquinas stance is as the basic laws we follow are either a pinnacle on how the world operates or not by accepting Hume's reason “ if suicide were truly wrong, God's law would prevent it” would be disregarding all the other sins that occur as none of the laws prevent any sin from murder to rape. The counter piece of Hume's “of suicide” highlights his disbelief that we owe a duty to God not to kill ourselves. Hume's stance is more realistic even with all its flawless and is the stronger defense.  

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David Hume on Suicide: Critical Essay. (2023, October 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/david-hume-on-suicide-critical-essay/
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