As the research portion of the Human Flourishing project comes to a close, educational resources and hands-on tool-kits will be made available to medical professionals and engaged allies alike. Keep an eye on this page — links to these products will be uploaded here as they become available.
Forthcoming academic works:
Paper 1: Historical overview of the development of the ethic of human flourishing.
The philosophical conception of human flourishing has been intimately tied to definitions and questions about happiness throughout history. However, happiness in this context is more than just ‘a state of being happy’. Rather, philosophers have used it in the context of how to lead a good life. This paper traces a pathway through several major philosophical eras and thinkers to develop a narrative of happiness. The paper works through ancient, medieval, early modern, and 19th and 20th century philosophy to demonstrate the variety of ideas and conceptions that have arisen from the search for human flourishing. Many of these ideas conflict, and so the purpose of this paper is simply to survey the options that have been presented over the centuries.
Paper 2: A survey of current ethical theories which may assist an ethic of human flourishing.
There are many ethical theories and moral frameworks currently employed in today’s ethical debates. Rather than simplifying the issue, this can instead make it difficult to understand what might benefit a case for human flourishing. This paper surveys the five most cited ethical frameworks and discusses how they might contribute to building a case for human flourishing. Various frameworks will fundamentally differ on what the right – or moral – action is. The paper first works through three normative ethical theories (those concerning how an individual ought to act). It then outlines two practical ethical theories, in which a theorist is more concerned about application rather than pure theory.
Paper 3: Promoting Human Flourishing.
Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) has recently been introduced in Canada as an option for those who no longer wish to continue living with severe disability or illness. However, much of the attention this process has garnered has focused predominantly on the negative aspects of a disabled or ill life. As such, the purpose of this paper is to highlight the necessity for a reconceptualization of how we view discussions about MAiD. There is a significant lack of recognition regarding those disabled and ill individuals who believe that they either are, or have the capacity to be, flourishing with their conditions. This paper begins by outlining the legal case for MAiD in Canada and compares this to the legislation that has since been implemented. It then shifts to discuss how we should understand well-being and disability by focusing on the individual’s capabilities and phenomenological experiences. It then discusses various ethical frameworks that are used in the discussion, highlighting the positive and negative aspects therein. The paper ends by calling on researchers to examine how we might better discuss access to MAiD while simultaneously respecting disabled and ill individual’s ability to flourish.