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The morality of martyrdom and the stigma of suicide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 August 2014

Joshua Rottman
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215.
Deborah Kelemen
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215.


While primarily identifying similarities between suicide terrorists and other suicidal individuals, Lankford also notes differences in how their actions are morally evaluated. Specifically, “conventional” suicide is stigmatized in a way that suicide terrorism is not. We identify the root of this condemnation, showing that suicide is intuitively considered impure and disgusting, and discuss implications of this purity-based stigma.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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