I've argued for waiting periods before a suicide to distinguish between the not-truly-suicidal and the permanently suicidal before, but I've never really explained in detail why. However, Franc's excellent post gave me enough incentive and inspiration to figure out why exactly my emotions tell me it is wrong to let suicidal thinkers (as opposed to those who are firm in their desire to commit suicide) commit suicide.
Just one thing: explain to me again why you don’t want a waiting
period? My justification for the imposition of suffering was the
violation of the right to live (the logic goes: they don’t really want
to die, they are doing this to show people they are in a desperate
situation – which is true of some people)* from those (and there are
many) who could not give meaningful consent – and the only way to be
able to give meaningful consent when you’re about to commit suicide is
to show that you are firm in your wish to die and it’s not a one-off
choice. I’m not sure now whether that’s the correct attitude to have or
not, due to this article.
*I try not now to talk about “future utility lost” because due to the
nature of the universe, anything could lead to future positive utility
being lost. You cannot be deprived of future positive utility because
you do not own a particular future – that would make things, well, weird
and unhelpful. Thanks to Bazompora
Actually, I didn’t say anything about waiting periods, Gomi did. I
haven’t even considered the issue at all, in the entry or in my head. (text omitted about a mistake on my part) Anyhow, I think the main point is this: “the only way to be able to give meaningful consent when you’re about to
commit suicide is to show that you are firm in your wish to die and
it’s not a one-off choice."
Okay, but why is suicide a special situation? Why do we not argue this
for everything else? We should have waiting periods for new jobs, any
sexual activity (including cuddling and kissing), as well as buying
anything at all. Or maybe you can demonstrate that suicide is indeed a
special situation re: consent. Either way I look forward to your reply
(partially because I like you, and partially because you are a
commentator on my blog who is not Gomi).
I’m inclined to think that it’s a special situation because it’s
probably one of the only situations where no more opportunities will
arise. There should be waiting periods for incredibly risky things I
feel – anything that could cause death, and suicide is related to that.
Ordinary decisions can be recovered from – eventually if you get the
wrong job your income could recover. If you kill yourself, you won’t
ever have the chance to reverse your decision, while most decisions in
life can be effectively reversed (e.g. marriage by divorce). So since
non-reversible decisions could possibly have more of an effect than
reversible ones, waiting periods should be installed before they are
undertaken. If I weren’t against having children entirely, I’d say that
abortion should have a waiting period (albeit not too long) installed.
Yes yes I'm a lazy narcissistic twat for not putting this into different words and making a proper post of things. But at least my views have levelled up a bit. Sorry, too many video games.