Euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the philosophical anthropology of Karol Wojtyla
Fernandes, Ashley K.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. In this dissertation, I show that the philosophical anthropology and Thomistic personalism of Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) provides a suitable basis for rebutting four arguments in favor of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EPAS): (1) the Argument from Autonomy; (2) the Argument from Compassion; (3) The Argument from the Evil of Suffering; and, (4) the Argument from the Loss of Dignity. The Introduction describes the current EPAS debate and the crucial philosophical questions left unanswered. Chapter I focuses on an evaluation of Wojtyla's personalism, articulated in The Acting Person (1969). By tracing his philosophical influences, and critique of the moral theories of Immanuel Kant and Max Scheler, I demonstrate how Wojtyla comes to arrive at a synthesis of Thomistic metaphysics and Schelerian phenomenology. It is in recognizing oneself as agent (causal efficacy), that one comes to understand moral responsibility, and in doing so allows the moral act to transform the person. This has significant implications for the Argument from Autonomy. Chapter II will show how the Argument from Compassion fails because it places the subjective element of the ethical act at the core of morality, to the neglect of duty. In Chapter III, I demonstrate that the Argument from the Evil of Suffering does not account for suffering's true purpose: acknowledging the vulnerability of persons and its link to human flourishing. In Chapter IV, I argue that the Argument from the Loss of Dignity rests on a confused definition of dignity, since intrinsic dignity exists in humans because they are incommunicable persons. Finally, in Chapter V, I offer an approach to the problem of EPAS that is rooted in the community. Participation in a community is essential to human fulfillment, while the experience of alienation is detrimental. Therefore, I propose that one solution to the EPAS dilemma begins with a steadfast commitment to palliative and hospice care, affirming the value of another precisely because we see "the other" as we see ourselves (another "I"). This will offer a model for the doctor-patient relationship, one that ought to engender a great respect for life, simply because one is a person.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Fernandes, Ashley K. (2001-12)The lack of consensus in American society regarding the permissibility of assisted suicide and euthanasia is due in large part to a failure to address the nature of the human person involved in the ethical act itself. For ...