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Natural law and end-of-life decisions (completed)

In this Ph.D. project a natural law theory of ethics will be outlined, tested, and applied to some of the most difficult problems in modern medicine: medical decisions at the end of life.

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About the project

Topics discussed will include euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, quality of life judgments, withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment, and persistent vegetative state.


The project will scrutinize and test the modern version of natural law theory developed by Grisez, Finnis, and collaborators. The working hypothesis is that the theory is well suited to guide our medical decision-making, but that it needs slight modifications to match prevalent and strong views about the care for vegetative patients. The project will attempt to show whether a natural law perspective makes sense of this field of medicine, and whether it might give us reliable moral guidance.


The research will result in a monograph. Philosophical method, with an emphasis on the construction and critique of arguments and positions will be used. No new empirical data will be collected for the sake of this project, but existing empirical literature on end-of-life decisions will be relevant.


  • South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority
  • Lovisenberg Diakonale Sykehus

Start - Finish

2010 - 2014 

Published Apr. 3, 2011 7:02 PM - Last modified Nov. 11, 2015 2:19 PM