Studies in Christian Ethics 24 (4):449-461 (2011)

The starting point for discussion in this paper is a case study, namely that of the controversy surrounding the case of withdrawing feeding from Eluana Englaro who had been in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) for seventeen years. I press the case for a recovery of classical prudence or practical wisdom, as understood by Thomas Aquinas, rather than beginning with deontological or utilitarian arguments. I suggest that prudence has relevance not just for specific issues concerned with cases involving PVS, but also addresses wider problems raised by secular end-of-life ethical discourse, with its emphasis on individual choice on the one hand and concerns about the slippery slope towards more liberal legislation on the other hand. Greater attention to the hospice movement is, I suggest, ambiguous in ethical terms. Finally, I argue that one of the strengths of a Thomistic understanding of prudence is its deep connection with the life of grace as that informed by consideration of the work of the Holy Spirit. This incorporates a theological element without falling into the trap of a deontology that can be dismissed by those outside the household of faith, while allowing a Christian witness to persist in such a contested public arena
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DOI 10.1177/0953946811415014
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Brain Death and Personal Identity.Michael B. Green & Daniel Wikler - 1980 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 9 (2):105-133.

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