Thinking About End of Life in Teleological Terms

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Paolo Biondi
Rachel Haliburton


This brief paper presents an Aristotelian-inspired approach to end-of-life decision making. The account focuses on the importance of teleology, in particular, the telos of eudaimonia understood as the goal of human flourishing as well as the telos of medicine when a person’s eudaimonia is threatened by serious illness and death. We argue that an Aristotelian bioethics offers a better alternative to a “fundamentalist bioethics” since the telos of eudaimonia (i) offers a more realistic conception of the self and the realities of frailty and mortality, (ii) provides a more objective basis for making decisions regarding end-of-life treatment and care, and (iii) is better able to resist the pull of the Technological Imperative. In addition, this teleological concept is flexible enough for it to be employed in multicultural and pluralistic societies.
Author Biographies

Paolo Biondi, University of Sudbury

Dr. Paolo Biondi
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy
University of Sudbury
935 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6


Rachel Haliburton, University of Sudbury

Dr. Rachel Haliburton
Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
University of Sudbury
935 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6



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How to Cite
BIONDI, P.; HALIBURTON, R. Thinking About End of Life in Teleological Terms. Diametros, n. 45, p. 1-18, 26 set. 2015.
Special Topic – Aristotelian Recources of Bioethics