PHIL 103 HU Aristotelian and Utilitarian Approaches Case Study

Teresa Ann Campo Pearson was born anencephalic due to a congenital birth defect. That is, she was born without a brain. As a result of her condition, Teresa would only live for a few days or a few weeks. Further, even if she lived longer, she would never develop preferences, ideas, likes, dislikes, or a personality, because she lacked the parts of the brain that facilitate those things. In fact, Teresa would never be conscious at all. She would never feel pleasure or pain, and would never even know that she existed.

Babies are born every day in the United States that, for one reason or another, need organ transplants. Teresa’s parents knew this, and wanted to donate her organs to other children who did have brains and who might very well live long, healthy lives if they could receive Teresa’s heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. However, if Teresa died naturally her organs would be unsuitable for transplant, and if her organs were harvested prior to her death then organ harvest itself would kill her.

The physicians in charge of Teresa’s care objected to the wish of her parents, and their decision to refrain from organ harvest was upheld in court.

Compare and contrast the Aristotilean and utilitarian approaches to central moral question of this case: should Teresa’s organs be harvested to save the lives of other organ-needy children, even though the process of organ harvest would hasten her death? Remember to: clearly identify each ethical theory; identify the philosopher(s) associated with each theory; explain the notion of the good life offered by each theory; explain the factors each theory considers to be relevant in making moral judgments; explain how each theory makes use of those factors in rendering moral judgments; explain the decision-procedure, if any, offered by each theory; and explain how each theory can be used to render a moral judgment and to guide action in this specific case by referring to both the details of the theories and the details of this specific case.

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