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Eye of the Heart

Knowing the Human Good in the Euthanasia Debate

by William F. Sullivan

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ethics & moral philosophy, ethics
list price: $121.00
also available: eBook
category: Philosophy
published: 2004

What is the role of feelings in the euthanasia debate? This is the central question in William F. Sullivan's unique philosophical and ethical exploration of the issue, Eye of the Heart. Employing the principles and techniques of the great Canadian theologian and thinker Bernard Lonergan, Sullivan offers a concrete examination of the role of feelings in grasping moral values and the key role that feelings play in ethical decision-making. The heart has its reasons, he argues convincingly, and it is a type of reason that bioethicists, philosophers, and legal scholars all need to know.

Sullivan draws on his experiences as a practicing physician to analyse the distinguishing elements of human knowing, illustrating them through common examples of decision-making in health care. He highlights the occurrence of various types of insight, particularly 'deliberative insights' that occur in the process of making value judgments. These deliberative insights are affective, and through them, a person apprehends moral values.

Eye of the Heart proposes that feelings are relevant to knowing moral values and orient us towards moral self-transcendence. The implications of this stance in ethics are drawn out for the euthanasia debate.

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About the Author

William F. Sullivan

William F. Sullivan, MD, is a general practitioner at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, the founding director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, and an assistant professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at U of T.

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