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University of Toronto Scarborough
Cathal O Madagain

PHLB09 2011 Lecture 11 N: so deaths always a shame D: depends on how you die; it can interrupt the meaningfulness of your life, or it can be consistent with meaningfulness of your life Making someone die in a way that others approve, but he believes a horrifying contradiction of his life, is a devastating, odious form of tyranny (Dworkin) If what mattered to you most was to live as long as possible, then taking someone off a life-support machine might be a harm to them But if what matters to you most is to live actively, then keeping someone indefinitely on a LSM might be a harm to them... Suicide Aquinas against Suicide Kant against Suicide Active side of our life o Goal directed, planed, intentional, meaningful Passive side of our life o Not intentional, unplanned, experiential Suicide: o Active side of our life destroying passive side (could also be destroying your active side of life) Reasons for suicide: o Misery o Pain o Depression o Lack of meaningfulness Can be emotional and unplanned Can be an act of madness But often its very seriously undertaken decision, rational, well planned out (ex. A suicide letter) Aquinas against suicide: o Aquinas (1225-1274) o ...his life project was to synthesize the work of Aristotle (the philosopher) with Christianity He made Christianity very sophisticated by doing this, taking fragments of Aristotles philosophies o ...he held the new, following Aristotle, that everything has an essential nature The nature of fire is to warm The nature of water is to wet The nature of humanity is to be rational, to reproduce, etc. For Aristotle, what counts as the nature of a thing is whatever it does mostly o Says that this is an intrinsic thing in humans o Evolution - if things have essential natures, then it doesnt make sense to say that weve evolved from monkeys Fire typically warms Rocks typically fall toward the earth Aquinas adds to this the twist that God created nature This adds an ethical dimension
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