David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (4):365 – 386 (2001)
Principle-based formulations of bioethical theory have recently come under increasing scrutiny, particularly insofar as they give prominence to personal autonomy. This essay critiques the dominant conceptualization of autonomy and urges an alternative formulation freed from the individualistic assumptions that pervade the prevailing framework. Drawing on feminist perspectives, I discuss the need for a vision of patient autonomy that joins relational experiences to individuality and acknowledges the influence of patterns of power and authority on the exercise of patient agency. Deficiencies in the current models of science and social relations guiding medical practice are analyzed, particularly (1) the tendency to disregard the patients self-knowledge and (2) failure to recognize limitations on the generalizability of medical knowledge. Models of social relations such as mothering and friendship are explored to advance a conception of autonomy better suited to the practical activities of medicine. In conclusion, I consider how acknowledgement of the specificity and complexity of social relations can contribute to reconfiguration of other principles comprising the standard framework of bioethics, particularly beneficence, justice, and equality.
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Citations of this work BETA
J. Rossi & M. Yudell (2012). The Use of Persuasion in Public Health Communication: An Ethical Critique. Public Health Ethics 5 (2):192-205.
Tereza Hendl (2016). The Complexity of Relational Autonomy: A Holistic Approach to Embodiment. American Journal of Bioethics 16 (2):63-65.
Veronique Bergeron (2007). The Ethics of Cesarean Section on Maternal Request: A Feminist Critique of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Position on Patient-Choice Surgery. Bioethics 21 (9):478–487.
Catriona Mackenzie (2007). Feminist Bioethics and Genetic Termination. Bioethics 21 (9):515–516.
Stephen Wilkinson (2007). Eugenics and the Criticism of Bioethics. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (4):409 - 418.
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