David Hume 's Argument Against Suicide

943 Words Nov 7th, 2014 4 Pages
David Hume grew up in a time where society was molded by the conservative beliefs of popular religions. So much so, that when the essay - On Suicide- was released, it was removed from the publication itself. In the eyes of the Christian community, suicide was always wrong, but Hume begged to differ. He believed that suicide should be done without blame or guilt, and that there were instances, where suicide should be allowed. His argument encompasses our duty to God, society and ourselves. His claim may be valid if all the premises of the argument are true, but it is not persuasive enough to be considered sound.

Hume begins his argument by stating that “If Suicide be criminal, it must be a transgression of our duty either to God, our neighbour, or ourselves.” (Hume, On Suicide, pg. 55). However, he claims that suicide is not always a violation of our duty to God, our neighbours, or ourselves. Due to the lack of any scriptural prohibitions against suicide, it can be assumed that suicide is not entirely a transgression. The main reason why it is condemned in many popular beliefs is because altering the length of one’s life is not permitted. Hume argues that if the alteration of the length was an issue, then taking medicines and being treated would be a sin as well. But because that is not the case, and medicines are not impious, suicide can’t be so either. (Jackman, Lecture notes, pg. 2). The next premise of the argument is directed to the society as whole. The argument that…
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