Cowardice and Injustice: The Problem of Suicide in Aristotle's Ethics.
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Contrary to Greek tradition, Aristotle condemns suicide without qualification, citing two reasons for moral disapproval. First, suicide is an act of cowardice. Second, suicide involves an act of injustice toward the state. It is argued that the charge of cowardice is too strong even by Aristotle’s own standards. There is evidence that the philosopher recognized a distinction between the cases of self-murder that testify to a cowardly character and the cases when one may be pardoned. It is shown that a suicide acts unjustly toward the polis in a way analogous to desertion from an army.