Existential suicide and pathological suicide: historical, philosophical and ethical aspects

Suicidio esistenziale e suicidio patologico: aspetti storici, filosofici ed etici

M. Martini, P. Ciliberti, L. Alfano, F. Santi, M. Schiavone, R. Ciliberti

Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute (DISSAL), Università di Genova; 1 Dipartimento di Salute Mentale e Dipendenze, ASL 3 Genovese; 2 Professore Emerito, Università di Genova


The complexity of suicide problems stimulates interpretations that can be compared not only with biological, physiological and/or psychopathological questions, but also with the sensitive universe of moral, philosophical and personological choices of the individual. More than once in history the value of life was faced with that of freedom, arousing many testimonies that support the inaccessibility or, on the contrary, the admissibility to use life as extreme assertion of one’s own supremacy to decide. Additionally, in the difficult connection between the principle of benefit and that of self-determination, sensitive problems arise about the legitimacy of discouraging interventions, even if compulsory. By analysing the possible connection between existential choices and probable psychopathological disorders in suicidal behaviour, the authors wish to provide suggestions that can help to tolerate pain and prevent self-wounding behaviour.

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