Suicide : a philosophical and ethical perspective

Okolie, Patricia (2001-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Suicide is a truly philosophical problem. Judging whether life is or not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. In Africa, suicide is not uncommon as evidenced by the Botswana experience. Suicide acts are the forefront of the daily existence even today. Suicide is felt in different areas of Botswana and while the study draws heavily on Africa especially Botswana, reference is also made to countries outside Africa. Hence, suicide in this thesis is not addressed in a restrictive manner. But its manifestation in essence is assessed in a general mode. This implies that the escalation of suicide is viewed from the sociological, psychological and philosophical implications. Although it is not easy to accept and live with suicide, people are beginning to accommodate it as an inevitable concept. However, the family and friends of a person who has committed suicide still feels ashamed, humiliated and sometimes guilty. The aim of this assignment is to analyse and evaluate the moral argument for and against suicide and to focus on the moral implications of committing suicide. While agreeing that individuals' autonomy are personal, the writer tries to suggest a way out of this self-destruction (suicide) which is just a means to an end and not an end in itself. The writer in the concluding chapter tries to explore the pros and cons of suicide, and comes up with the conclusion that the right to live should be given attention than the right to die, at least to preserve its generations which all creatures strive for. Areas of focus: • The concept of Suicide • The nature and incidence of Suicide. • Arguments in favour of Suicide • Arguments against Suicide • The Suicide I Euthanasia Debate

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Selfmoord is 'n ware filosofiese probleem. Om te oordeel of 'n lewe die moeite werd is om gelewe te word, vereis 'n antwoord op 'n fundamentele vraag van filosofie. In Afrika is selfmoord nie ongewoon nie, soos gesien in die geval van Botswana. Selfmoord kom baie algemeen daar voor. Selfmoord word aangetref in verskeie areas in Botswana, en, alhoewel die studie fokus op Afrika - en spesifiek Botswana, word daar ook verwys na lande buite Afrika. Maar die manifestasie daarvan word in essensie en in die algemeen aangespreek. Dit beteken dat die toename in selfmoord in terme van die verskynsel se sosiologiese, sielkundige en filosofiese implikasies aangespreek word. Alhoewel dit nie maklik is on selfmoord te aanvaar en mee saam te leef nie, begin mense dit aanvaar as 'n onvermydelike verskynsel. Maar die familie van 'n persoon wat selfmoord gepleeg het voel steeds skaam, verneder en soms skuldig. Die doel van hierdie werkstuk is om die argumente vir en teen selfmoord te analiseer, te evalueer, en om te fokus op die morele implikasies van selfmoord. Alhoewel die outeur saamstem dat individue outonoom is, word sterk teen die morele aanvaarbaarheid van selfmoord geargumenteer. In die gevolgtrekking ondersoek die outeur die voordele en nadele van selfmoord en eindig met die bevinding dat die reg tot lewe meer aandag behoort te kry as die sg. reg om te sterf. Areas waarop gefokus word: • Die konsep "selfmoord" as sodanig • Die aard van selfmoord en (hoe algemeen dit voorkom.) • Argumente ten gunste van selfmoord • Argumente teen selfmoord • Die selfmoord -genadedood debat

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