The Macksey Journal


When we observe that a person holds what appear to be absurd beliefs, there is a temptation to correct them. These efforts are often condemnatory and fail to take into account the reasoning behind such beliefs. These ideas comprise each person’s respective explanation for why it is that the world appears to them as it does. There are those whose lives are existentially painful and their explanations for their suffering is critical to their continued survival. I argue that condemning a existentially pained person for holding their particular explanation is morally impermissible. I aim to show that both Kant’s categorical imperative and hedonistic utilitarianism support my claim that explanatory condemnation is impermissible. As a result of this discussion, I also argue that if the aim is to minimize the number of suicides amongst existentially pained persons, suicide should be regarded as permissible, regardless of the actual moral status of the act.