Thinking About End of Life in Teleological Terms

Diametros 45:1-18 (2015)
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Abstract

This brief paper presents an Aristotelian-inspired approach to end-of-life decision making. The account focuses on the importance of teleology, in particular, the telos of eudaimonia understood as the goal of human flourishing as well as the telos of medicine when a person’s eudaimonia is threatened by serious illness and death. We argue that an Aristotelian bioethics offers a better alternative to a “fundamentalist bioethics” since the telos of eudaimonia offers a more realistic conception of the self and the realities of frailty and mortality, provides a more objective basis for making decisions regarding end-of-life treatment and care, and is better able to resist the pull of the Technological Imperative. In addition, this teleological concept is flexible enough for it to be employed in multicultural and pluralistic societies

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