Academic journal article Global Virtue Ethics Review

Editor's Introduction

Academic journal article Global Virtue Ethics Review

Editor's Introduction

Article excerpt

In recent years there has been a significant increase in interest in applied ethics, both within the academy and outside it. Moreover, this interest in applied ethics has led many persons outside the philosophical community to recognize that even the apparently esoteric concerns of philosophers--such as the nature of personal autonomy, or the issue of personal identity--can have practical implications. The essays that are contained within this issue of Global Virtue Ethics Review reflect the interrelations between theoretical and applied ethics. In the first and most practically orientated paper in this issue, Amy E. White argues that there is a discontinuity in current approaches to suicide treatment and to the treatment of those who refuse medical treatment. White argues that if respect for personal autonomy supports respecting a patient's right to refuse treatment, then it should also support her right to commit suicide. Concern for the value of personal autonomy also undergirds the second paper in this issue, by Diana Buccafurni. Buccafurni argues that since some mentally incapacitated persons are capable of exercising a certain degree of autonomy, the advance directives that they put into place to apply to themselves were they to become thus incapacitated should not be honored, because they are still capable of making autonomous decisions for themselves. Moreover, argues Buccafurni, this rejection of advance directives gains further support from the plausible view of personal identity, on which the persons making the advance directives and those subsequently subject to them are actually two distinct persons.

The first two papers in this issue, then, used theoretical philosophy to illuminate practical issues. …

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