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University of Toronto Scarborough
Cathal O Madagain

PHLB09 2011 Lecture 13 Kant: o Suicide is against your autonomy (your rational interests) It cant be consistent with your autonomy to undermine the principle upon which autonomy depends ...but you cant commit suicide, which by definition is with self-intent, without fulfilling your Hume against Aquinas o Re: against nature 1: Its prohibited to interrupt the course of nature by killing yourself, then you cant save yourself either 2: Your free will is a part of nature! So exercising your free will cant be going against nature o Re: Against Community 1: its only against your community if you owe your community 2: could even be a benefit (eg. Captain Oates) 3: And anyhow hermits leave o Re: Against God The claim is that God put me here, so only God can take me away Did God put me here? Surely my parents did that? If you reply that your parents decision was guided by God Then I can respond by saying my life and decisions are also guided by God Hume Against Kant o Nobody ever killed themselves lightly- o Sheds doubt on Kants claim that suicide is inconsistent with a persons interests More reasons to be suspicious of Kants claim o Cant I kill my future non-autonomous self? If Im losing my autonomy - If I am going into a permanent coma ...if Im concerned with my future non-autonomous self, then this suggests my autonomous self is not the only self I identify with o Is autonomy better than anything? What if preserving my autonomy means suffering and constant pain for a million years? Or that other people will suffer constant pain for a million years? o Highlights the distinction between meaningfulness and experiential interests. Meaningfulness interests are tied up with autonomy. There is no meaningfulness interest in these conditions where autonomy is lost. Thus, it seems Kant is overemphasizing our value placed on meaningfulness interests, and undermining the value of experiential interests We have both: o Meaningfulness interests (fundamentally connected with autonomy - the active side of our lives) And: o Experiential interests We have experiences whether were autonomous or not; Tied to the passive side of our lives
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