Altruistic suicide

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Altruistic suicide is suicide committed for the benefit of others. Falling on a grenade is one such example.[1] Émile Durkheim notes that tribal people sometimes see it as their duty to commit suicide, as when a wife kills herself after her husband dies, or a man kills himself in old age; but Durkheim also observes that altruistic suicide is unlikely to occur much in modern western society where “individual personality is increasingly freed from the collective personality.”[2] Altruistic suicide has been described as an evolutionarily stable strategy.[3] Altruistic suicide has a long history in India, even being noted in the Dharmashastras.[4] Some perceive self-immolation as an altruistic or "worthy" suicide.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blake, JA (Spring 1978). "Death by hand grenade: altruistic suicide in combat". Suicide & life-threatening behavior 1 (8): 46–59. PMID 675772. 
  2. ^ Deniz Yükseker, Lecture on Emile Durkheim 
  3. ^ Mascaro, Steven; Kevin B. Korb; Ann E. Nicholson (2001). "Suicide as an evolutionarily stable strategy" (PDF). Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2159: 120–132. doi:10.1007/3-540-44811-X_12. 
  4. ^ Vijayakumar, Lakshmi (January 2004). "Altruistic suicide in India" (PDF). Archives of Suicide Research 1 (8): 73–80. doi:10.1080/13811110490243804. 
  5. ^ Coleman, Loren (2004). The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines. New York: Paraview Pocket-Simon and Schuster. p. 48. ISBN 0-7434-8223-9.