Aristotle’s ethical system was guided by his vision of human flourishing (also, but potentially misleadingly, translated as happiness). For Aristotle, human flourishing was a rich holistic concept about a life lived well until its ending. Both living a long life and dying well were integral to the Aristotelian ideal of human flourishing. Using Aristotle’s concept of human flourishing to inform the goals of medicine has the potential to provide guidance to clinical decision-makers regarding the provision of burdensome treatments, such as intensive care treatment, where pursuing a chance of survival must be balanced against the risk of exposing patients to a negative dying experience. By conceptually uniting potentially competing goals of medicine, such as prolonging life and the promotion of peaceful deaths, Aristotle’s understanding of human flourishing creates an argument for the integration of palliative care considerations into intensive care decision-making and for advanced care planning with healthy patients.
- Decision Making
- Ethics- Medical
- Palliative Care
- Philosophy- Medical
Data availability statement
Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.
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Contributors TD is the sole author and guarantor of this manuscript.
Funding University of Manchester (School of Law Studentship - no grant number).
Competing interests TD received a School of Law Studentship from the University of Manchester.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.