Martyrdom, suicide and absolute negative norms
Ethics of Moral Absolutes
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The article focuses on the difference between murder or suicide and the act of martyrdom. The arguments refer to John Paul II’s teaching on absolute moral norms and John Finnis’ theory of basic human goods. The core of the text is a discussion with the approach of Finnis who claims that a martyr merely accepts her own death as a side-effect of her other intentional action; the discussion is based on Aquinas’s insights (mainly in "Summa theologiae") and aims to show that death is not merely an accepted side−effect, but somehow enters into the specification of the act of martyrdom. The general conclusion is that the difference between martyrdom and suicide or murder requires a refined theory of intentional action, as opposed to non−intentional effecting of something, and also, above all, calls for still more diligent study of what exactly the prime and proper objects of practical reason, of proposal, of choice and of action itself are.
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