On rationally valuing one’s life

Derek Clayton BAKER

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Human life has special importance. Human decisions must be granted special respect. It is natural to see these claims as connected. It seems likely that human life has value because human beings possess a unique capacity for self-determination. David Velleman’s argument that the nature of autonomy provides us with a prima facie case against the morally permissibility of suicide, at least in most cases, rests on highly questionable premises. Nonetheless, it does point to the importance of a proper understanding of seemingly arcane notions like the self and autonomy in giving principled and systematic answers to practical moral dilemmas. I will argue here that his case against suicide relies on a Kantian understanding of the nature of the self, and consequently of the nature of autonomy and how it should be respected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-257
Number of pages14
JournalAsian Bioethics Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Frankfurt School
  • Kant
  • Nature of Autonomy Suicide
  • Self-Determination
  • Value of Human Life
  • Velleman


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