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Self-manslaughter and the forensic classification of self-inflicted death
  1. M Cholbi
  1. Correspondence to:
 Michael Cholbi
 Department of Philosophy, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768, USA; mjcholbi{at}


By emphasising the intentions underlying suicidal behaviour, suicidal death is distinguished from accidental death in standard philosophical accounts on the nature of suicide. A crucial third class of self-produced deaths, deaths in which agents act neither intentionally nor accidentally to produce their own deaths, is left out by such accounts. Based on findings from psychiatry, many life-threatening behaviours, if and when they lead to the agent’s death, are suggested to be neither intentional nor accidental, with many apparently suicidal behaviours being of this sort, especially the so-called “cries for help”. This category may be usefully analogised to the existing legal category of manslaughter.

  • NINA, neither intentional nor accidental

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  • Competing interests: None.

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