Understanding Suicide/Honors

PSY 400 - Understanding Suicide/Honors

MySlice Info:

Term: Spring 2017
Class #: 32269
Section: M002
Credits: 3

Max Malikow

Counts toward:
Dept Soc Sci

Course Time(s):
T TH 8:00 - 9:20 am


Course Description:

The French existentialist and Nobel laureate Albert Camus wrote: “There is only one serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” The German philosopher Immanuel Kant posited, “Suicide is not abominable because God prohibits it; God prohibits it because it is abominable.” Another German philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, expressed disagreement with Kant with these words: “The thought of suicide is a great comfort: with it a calm passage is to be made across many a bad night.” The list of great thinkers who have written about suicide is no less impressive than the list of noteworthy individuals who have accomplished it. It is a list that includes poets (Hart Crane, Sylvia Plath), novelists (Hunter Thompson, Virginia Woolf), entertainers (Richard Farnsworth, Marilyn Monroe), psychologists (Bruno Bettelheim, Lawrence Kohlberg), Nobel Prize recipients (Percy Bridgeman, Ernest Hemingway), artists (Alberto Greco, Vincent Van Gogh), and kings (Nero of Rome, Saul of Israel). Sigmund Freud’s death was self-determined and Abraham Lincoln struggled with suicidality throughout his adult life. This course will provide a thorough consideration of suicide as both a mental health and philosophical issue. The questions to be addressed include: Why do people commit suicide? What is the frequency of suicide? What can be done to prevent it? What help is available to suicide survivors in their bereavement? Is suicide a moral issue? In what manner is suicide addressed in the Bible? The means for accomplishing this investigation will be in-class presentations (lectures, discussions, case studies, and videos), reading assignments (books and selected articles), and a reflective paper. Prerequisite: PSY 205 or PSY 209.


Prerequisite: PSY 205 or PSY 209.