Philosophers and Suicide

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Philosophers
  3. » Philosophers and Suicide

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

midas77
 
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 02:04 pm
Anyone of you have knowledge of philosopher commiting suicide?

1. It was said that Empedocles jump out of a Volcano to meet the Absolute. its rumor though.

2. Socrates drunk hemlock while having offered a chance of escape. Can that be counted as suicide? Don't think so though.

Any other?
 
de budding
 
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 03:18 pm
@midas77,
Filtered results from a wikipedia article, 'Deaths of Philosophers'- Deaths of philosophers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

65 Seneca was forced to commit suicide after falling out with Emperor Nero

1940 Walter Benjamin committed suicide at the Spanish-French border, after attempting to flee from the Nazis.

1954 Alan Turing is believed to have committed suicide by eating a poisoned apple.

1979 Evald Ilyenkov committed suicide.

1994 David Stove committed suicide after a painful struggle with disease.

Dan.
 
diotimajsh
 
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 03:43 pm
@de budding,
Not sure Turing should count as a philosopher, really... certainly some of his essays were very relevant to philosophers, but he was more of a mathematician/computational sort in general.

It's actually kind of amusing to me (and slightly frustrating) that a lot of people have this impression of philosophers as being very depressed, prone-to-suicide types. But really, you can find so many more suicides (as caused by depression or mental illness) among famous artists, composers, writers, mathematicians and scientists.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 05:28 pm
@diotimajsh,
Quote:
Not sure Turing should count as a philosopher


I don't see why he shouldn't. For that matter I would be inclined to throw several non-traditional philosophers/artists/clergy/poly-sci
in the mix, such as Kurt Cobain.
 
midas77
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 08:40 am
@diotimajsh,
diotimajsh wrote:
Not sure Turing should count as a philosopher, really... certainly some of his essays were very relevant to philosophers, but he was more of a mathematician/computational sort in general.

It's actually kind of amusing to me (and slightly frustrating) that a lot of people have this impression of philosophers as being very depressed, prone-to-suicide types. But really, you can find so many more suicides (as caused by depression or mental illness) among famous artists, composers, writers, mathematicians and scientists.


It is not my intention to point out that Philosopher tend to do suicide. On the contrary, I find it interesting that people so much immersed with the angst of life seems to be stastically immune to suicide.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 03:56 pm
@diotimajsh,
diotimajsh wrote:
It's actually kind of amusing to me (and slightly frustrating) that a lot of people have this impression of philosophers as being very depressed, prone-to-suicide types. But really, you can find so many more suicides (as caused by depression or mental illness) among famous artists, composers, writers, mathematicians and scientists.


I've not seen this. I'd expect it to be the other way around. Am I living in a cave? Is this a commonly-held belief?
 
diotimajsh
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 04:32 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
I've not seen this. I'd expect it to be the other way around. Am I living in a cave? Is this a commonly-held belief?

Erm, I'm not exactly clear which part of my post it is that you haven't seen but would expect to be the other way around.

If you mean that you haven't seen the attitude that philosophers are depressed, suicidal types--well, maybe that is just me. I probably shouldn't have said "a lot of people," but qualified it with, "a lot of people that I encounter
 
LingNemesis
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 08:44 am
@diotimajsh,
To be able to think critically and hold ones belief so firmly as a philosopher, I guess their call to continue living is to preserve their ideas, yes, they might be cynical and all, but I ultimately think philosophers have the right mental capabilities to ward off the notion of a suicide or ''martyrdom''. In a nutshell, they are in total control of themselves and their minds, so nothing will actually falter them, to trigger any self-hurt. =)
 
de budding
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 08:46 am
@LingNemesis,
total control of the mind? I think not, sounds like an impossibility.
 
midas77
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 05:15 am
@de budding,
WHich lead me to the next question. Do you consider yourself a philosopher, and any thought about suicide in your life?
 
de budding
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 05:27 am
@midas77,
Suicide, all the time but, I don't know enough about the world to be able to commit to the idea and I have far too many commitments to chicken out. Existence is a ball at the moment but I could discover that your all illusions and then I wouldn't;t be having much fun.

I try to philosophize, so I guess I am trying to be a philosopher... whether I succeed or not is up to you.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:02 am
@diotimajsh,
diotimajsh wrote:
Erm, I'm not exactly clear which part of my post it is that you haven't seen but would expect to be the other way around.

If you mean that you haven't seen the attitude that philosophers are depressed, suicidal types--well, maybe that is just me. I probably shouldn't have said "a lot of people," but qualified it with, "a lot of people that I encounter." I've had people on other message boards make the assertion that philosophers tend to be bitter and prone to suicide, I've had friends imply or say as much outright to me during conversations, and particularly therapists seem to think that past philosophers tended toward the suicidal. But yes, this is all just drawn from personal experience--I certainly can't cite any published works that make this claim.


I read your post fully, but apparently didn't sufficiently delineate which aspect to which I was referring. You got it right in your first response (the one quoted above). I just hadn't heard that this was a 'tendency', so to speak.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:05 am
@Khethil,
... as far as a general notion. To me suicide does one thing only: It removes any chance for my future or happiness getting any better. As such, in my mind, I couldn't ever justify it.

I've heard it said that for some people, the pain of living becomes too much. I could see this 'pain' (depending on rather terrible circumstances) getting unbearable, I'm just not prepared to remove any positive future potential I might have.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 09:57 am
@midas77,
A slight tangent is that one philosopher, Albert Camus, felt that the question of suicide was absolutely central to philosophy. In fact he felt that the question of "why do we bother to live" is the fundamental philosophical question. He writes about this in the Myth of Sisyphus, which everyone should read.
 
de budding
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 10:39 am
@Aedes,
Thanks Aedes, I've added it to my 'to read...' list.
Dan
 
Justin
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 12:00 pm
@de budding,
Isn't everyone somewhat of a philosopher? There are many philosophers who go unknown but doesn't everyone embrace a philosophy or philosophize at some point? Wouldn't that make each and every human being on earth a philosopher?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 03:25 pm
@Justin,
Justin wrote:
Isn't everyone somewhat of a philosopher?
Well, everyone is somewhat of a photographer, somewhat of a writer, somewhat of a dancer, somewhat of an athlete, etc, if one does normal and common activities from time to time. But I think the word 'philosopher' needs to connote more specificity than this.
 
Professer Frost
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 05:23 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes,
Could you give us a definition of "philosopher"? There is the easy etymological one i. e.
"anyone who loves wisdom" but perhaps the definition should be more complex than that? (If this is off topic my sincerest apologies to everyone!)
- A. Frost
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:00 pm
@Aedes,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
Isn't everyone somewhat of a philosopher?


Philosophy is simply a meta-dialogue about (X).... Just being Human makes one a philosopher, and just understanding your own mortality/existence abstractly forces one to think about suicide at some point. So yes I am a Philosopher and Yes I have contemplated suicide.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:58 pm
@Professer Frost,
Professer Frost wrote:
Aedes,
Could you give us a definition of "philosopher"?
I spend a lot of time on photography forums, and this comes up all the time with the word "photographer".

The word "philosopher", like any other "-er", can mean different things in different contexts. The word can refer to professional philosophers, and amateur philosophers, in which the difference mainly connotes degree of training and seriousness of the work -- but the difference is inherent in the qualifier (amateur vs professional) rather than the word 'philosopher'.

I think the word itself probably boils down to a self-conscious, self-identified interest in philosophy and a pursuit of this interest. To use the label philosopher for everyone who says 'everything happens for a reason' or 'the grass is always greener on the other side' is so generic that the label loses value.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Philosophers
  3. » Philosophers and Suicide
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/24/2019 at 08:30:42