Studies in Christian Ethics 32 (1):46-55 (2019)

Stewart Clem
Aquinas Institute of Theology
Would Aquinas hold the view that a patient in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) is something other than a human being? Some recent interpreters have argued for this position. I contend that this reading is grounded in a false symmetry between the three stages of Aquinas’s embryology and the (alleged) three-stage process of death. Instead, I show that there are textual grounds for rejecting the view that the absence of higher brain activity in a patient would lead Aquinas to say that the patient no longer has a rational soul. On my reading of Aquinas, the patient in PVS has a rational soul and is unequivocally a human being.
Keywords Aquinas  Bioethics  PVS  Vegetative State  death and dying  disorders of consciousness  hylomorphism  soul  Christian ethics
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DOI 10.1177/0953946818808140
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The End of (Human) Life as We Know It.Christina Van Dyke - 2012 - Modern Schoolman 89 (3-4):243-257.

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