chapter  5
34 Pages

The Rationality of Suicide

ByRobert L. Barry

David Daube claims that it is difficult to affirm the rationality of suicide because of the cultural bias against it, and the fact that other societies see it as a rational action causes Daube to urge further examination of people's attitudes about suicide. The irrationality of suicide has been stressed by other authors as well. Devine claims that attempts to understand death are irretrievably futile because of its obscurity, and this makes any choice for it irrational. The chapter also discusses the issue of rationality of suicide from the viewpoint of traditional Catholic morality, theology, and philosophy. Classical Catholic teaching has held that rationality is only one among many norms for determining the permissibility of actions. It is quite possible that the question about the rationality of suicide might be the wrong one, for the proper question might be whether suicide expresses a needed, proper, and fittingly hopeful response to the problems endemic to our life.