This is the first of a series of lectures on suicide. Two very distinct contexts are presented in which the subject can be further explored. The first is rationality and the question of under what circumstances it makes sense to end one's own life. The second is morality and the question of whether we can ever ethically justify resorting to suicide. The lecture's focus is on the rational requirements of suicide, and Professor Kagan introduces a number of cases which demonstrate that ending one's life, in certain instances, may be rationally sound.
There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?
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