The problem of suicide in Montesquieu

Luigi Delia


Often reduced to the Persian letter 74, which advocates the liberalisation of the law to suicide, the thought of Montesquieu on voluntary death is in fact complex and contrasting. Browsing the main passages that Montesquieu devotes to this question at high risk of censure, it will explore the guidelines he adopts to determine the different causes of suicide in the light of the different cultural contexts. In this way, instead of asking us if Montesquieu manages to settle a doctrinal controversy, this paper examines his scientific method which consists in seeking the meaning of voluntary death within the Persian, Roman and English civilization.


Montesquieu; suicide; law; physical causes; moral causes

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/5858


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