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In Thomas Aquinas
writing, “Suicide is Unnatural and Immoral”, Aquinas presents three reasons why
suicide is in fact immoral. One of the reasons he provides deals with the
community, where he states, “by killing himself he injures the community”
(Aquinas, 1912). This quote presents the idea on how by ending one’s own life,
they are removing themselves from the community, and by doing so they can no
longer contribute to the community, therefore injuring the community. David
Hume’s argues this specific idea that Aquinas brings up by stating “A man, who
retires from life, does no harm to society. He only ceases to do good, which,
if it is an injury is the lowest kind” (Hume, 1987). He believes that by one
removing themselves from the community, they cannot contribute to the
community, but they cannot also benefit from the community. However, Hume was ultimately
ineffective in arguing this idea.

The examples Hume uses to support his case were the
person who has become a burden to the public and the person who sacrifices themselves
to prevent a great danger to society. But these are the easy cases that does
not include real life occurrences or situations. The people who have rejected
the right of the individual to commit suicide have also at the same time
supported the duty to risk life and die for the community. To prove his case, Hume
needs to show that when someone is important to the community, the community is
avid to maintain the agreement that the individual still has the right to break
it and take his/her own life. Part of the problem is that Hume’s account of
social integration relies on the concept of “sympathy” stemming from our
experiences of pleasure and hardships. Since we have different experiences of
pleasure and hardships within our lives, it results in different feelings with
regard to similar objects, so we need an objective or equitable point of view
from which to extend our sympathy beyond its given boundaries.

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The cases that
Hume describes in his argument do not show that it would be right to kill
oneself, but rather it illustrates factors relevant to the decision, factors
that can only be relevant on the assumption that suicide is not entirely
prohibited. This is why it is not necessary for Hume to bring upon the claim
that, a husband and father who kills himself cheats his wife and his children,
since this claim appeals to the consequences of his killing himself, and once
one allows consequences to be relevant there are other consequences to consider,
like enduring torture.

            Hume also explains in his argument
that if you are about to be
tortured for crimes against society, putting yourself to death would fit the
interest of majority of the people in public. However, if the well-being of others can be taken
to demand to determine my existence, so it can work out that it demands that I go
out of existence. This does not settle the matter of the morality of killing
myself, but it does present a discussion that needs to be measured and thought
through carefully.

            Overall, Hume’s argument for suicide
is not effective as it uses basic examples that occurs rarely in the real world
and is far more complicated than what he described in his argument. Hume’s
argument is based on many assumptions which results in an ineffective argument
in showing that someone has the right to kill themselves.  

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