Kant's Argument Against Self-Murder and its Relation to the Principle of Self-Preservation of Reason
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The goal of this dissertation is two-fold. It is, first, to reconstruct Kant's argument against self-murder, and, second, to analyze the function of the principle of self preservation of reason with regard to the prohibition of self-murder. I argue that self-murder is contrary to the principle of self-preservation of reason and violates the trustee-relationship between the homo phaenomenon and the homo noumenon. The analysis shows that moral self-preservation in Kant is a rational principle which serves to secure the possibility of moral faith and self-perfection. In the first part of the dissertation, I provide a comprehensive analysis of Kant's argument against self-murder by examining all of the relevant statements in his works, the Nachlab , as well as the lectures recorded by Herder, Powalski, Collins, and Vigilantius. Since self-murder violates a perfect duty to oneself, key topics of the analysis are: the dual status of the duty of self-preservation as both inner duty of right and duty of virtue, the right and end of humanity, as well as Kant's model of self-possession in terms of proprietas. The analysis makes clear that self-murder destroys the moral self and must be distinguished from sacrificing one's life in order to preserve one's moral integrity. [truncated]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University.
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