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Abstract 摘要

Modern people usually discuss suicide from scientific views and treat it as a kind of disease. Suicidal behavior occurs under the influence of psychological or physiological illness; it is an involuntary behavior. People who commit suicide are deemed the "victims" of their illnesses. All what we should do is to prevent, to intervene and to postvent their suicidal behavior.

However, some cases of suicide are not due to illness. They are the result of voluntary and deliberate moral choice. The reasons of committing suicide are associated with the ethical values of people in the same period of time and in the same community. For example, the moral principle of "zhen" played an important role in woman suicide of Ming Dynasty. In Ming Dynasty, " zhen" was manifested in three ways: (1) "Congi er yongzhong", women should commit suicide after the death of their husbands in order to express loyalty. (2) "Daili er zhengshi", women should commit suicide if they have inappropriate sexual relations with other people, such as pre-marital sex, in order to express their regret and to cover up their sinful behavior. (3) "Sijie", women should commit suicide in order to avoid being raped.

Although the government and some intellectuals in Ming Dynasty encouraged women to commit suicide for "men", the suicide and suicide attempt cases in San Yan show that women should consider other moral principles and other values of life and death before they commit suicide. We found that the moral principle of "xiao" overrode the moral principle of "men" in some cases of woman suicide and suicide attempt in San Yan. In Chinese society, "xiao" was manifested in three ways: (l) "Fengyang shuangqin", women should keep their lives for supporting and serving their parents. (2) "Fengyang sizi", women should keep their lives for bringing up their children. (3) "Wei Jiaren Baochou", women should keep their lives for avenging their dead family members. Under the moral principle of "xiao", women should give up suicide. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the underlying values of woman suicide in Ming Dynasty and give an ethical analysis on it.

現代人對於自殺的討論,普遍地從科學的觀點剖析,視之為與疾病有關。從科學的觀點而言,當事人是在受制於心理或生理的疾病影響下作出自殺的行為。他們的自殺,是處於“不由自主”、“無力選擇”下的自殺,當事人其實是“受害者”,需要的是心理輔導、醫治以預防自殺,而非對其背後所包含的價值觀予以討論。

然而,有一些自殺卻不能歸納為與疾病有關。當事人的自殺,是處於自主的狀態之中,是經過深思熟慮,有其充分道德理據下的自主行為。當事人自殺的理據,是與同時代,同一社群的人所認同的道德價值觀,有著密切的關係。對當事人的自殺子以道德價值上的探討,則屬於倫理學上的討論。本文以明代的婦女自殺為例,試從倫理學研究的進路,探究古代中國人的自殺。

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