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Matthew Shea
University of Scranton
  1.  12
    Principlism’s Balancing Act: Why the Principles of Biomedical Ethics Need a Theory of the Good.Matthew Shea - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (4-5):441-470.
    Principlism, the bioethical theory championed by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, is centered on the four moral principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. Two key processes related to these principles are specification—adding specific content to general principles—and balancing—determining the relative weight of conflicting principles. I argue that both of these processes necessarily involve an appeal to human goods and evils, and therefore require a theory of the good. A significant problem with principlism is that it lacks a (...)
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  2.  37
    Aquinas on God-Sanctioned Stealing.Matthew Shea - 2018 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):277-293.
    A serious challenge to religious believers in the Abrahamic traditions is that the God of the Old Testament seems to command immoral actions. Thomas Aquinas addresses this objection using the biblical story of God ordering the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, which threatens to create an inconsistency among four of Aquinas’s views: God did indeed command this action; God is perfectly good and cannot command any evil actions; the objective moral goodness or badness of actions is not based on arbitrary (...)
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  3.  30
    Human Nature and Moral Status in Bioethics.Matthew Shea - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (2):115-131.
    The articles in this issue cover a wide range of topics, including the moral status of human embryos and human-animal chimeras and hybrids, the determination of death, theories of human cognition, and policies on the identity of mitochondrial donors. Despite this variety, there are two underlying questions that tie the articles together: what is a human being? And, what is the basis of moral status? First, I discuss these two questions and why they are important for bioethics. Then I provide (...)
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  4.  29
    A Natural Fit: Natural Law Theory, Virtue Epistemology, and the Value of Knowledge.Matthew Shea - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:45-63.
    I propose and defend a new combination of natural law ethics and virtue epistemology. While all contemporary natural law theories recognize knowledge as one of the basic human goods, none of them provide a detailed explanation for the value of knowledge, which would greatly enrich such theories. I show that virtue epistemology is able to deliver the required solution to the value problem, which makes this combination project very attractive. I also address two major worries about this approach: it commits (...)
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  5.  9
    Forty Years of the Four Principles: Enduring Themes From Beauchamp and Childress.Matthew Shea - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (4-5):387-395.
    This special issue commemorates the 40th anniversary of Tom Beauchamp and James Childress’s Principles of Biomedical Ethics with a collection of original essays addressing some of the major themes in the book. It opens with intellectual autobiographies by Beauchamp and Childress themselves. Subsequent articles explore the topics of common morality, specification and balancing of moral principles, virtue, moral status, autonomy, and lists of bioethical principles. The issue closes with a reply by Beauchamp and Childress to the other authors.
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  6.  87
    God, Evil, and Occasionalism.Matthew Shea & C. P. Ragland - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (2):265-283.
    In a recent paper, Alvin Plantinga defends occasionalism against an important moral objection: if God is the sole direct cause of all the suffering that results from immoral human choices, this causal role is difficult to reconcile with God’s perfect goodness. Plantinga argues that this problem is no worse for occasionalism than for any of the competing views of divine causality; in particular, there is no morally relevant difference between God directly causing suffering and God indirectly causing it. First, we (...)
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  7.  1
    The Ethics of Choosing a Surrogate Decision Maker When Equal-Priority Surrogates Disagree.Matthew Shea - forthcoming - Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics.
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  8.  41
    Thomistic Eudaimonism, Virtue, and Well-Being.Matthew Shea - 2017 - Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (1):173-185.
    In contemporary discussions of human well-being, well-being is typically understood in secular terms. Analogously, most contemporary discussions of eudaimonistic virtue ethics, influenced by Aristotle, take human flourishing to be a matter of living virtuously, where flourishing and virtue are both secular notions. For many religious believers, however, well-being and virtuous activity involve not just ethical dispositions and actions, but primarily relationship to God. In this paper, I present an alternative eudaimonistic account of well-being that is theological in nature. This view, (...)
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  9.  33
    The Quality of Life is Not Strained: Disability, Human Nature, Well-Being, and Relationships.Matthew Shea - 2019 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 29 (4):333-366.
    This paper explores the relationship between disability and quality of life and some of its implications for bioethics and healthcare. It focuses on the neglected perfectionist approach that ties well-being to the flourishing of human nature, which provides the strongest support for the common view of disability as a harm. After critiquing the traditional Aristotelian version of perfectionism, which excludes the disabled from flourishing by prioritizing rationalistic goods, I defend a new version that prioritizes the social capacities of human nature (...)
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