Ulysses Contracts

Journal of Applied Philosophy 3 (1):89-101 (1986)
‘Ulysses contracts’ are an instrument through which a psychiatric patient may prearrange involuntary commitments to be put into effect if the patient satisfies certain diagnostic criteria in the future. Proposals for Ulysses contracts typically impose numerous safeguards. This paper argues against the intuitively plausible safeguard which permits only presently remitted patients to contract. Instead of requiring a patient's remission, it is argued that the appropriate safeguard is the patient's ability, whether remitted or not, to offer good reasons for wishing to contract. In short, what matters is not an executive's character, but an executive's reasons, and a bad executive may have good reasons. Attempts to deny the accessibility of good reasons in unremitted patients are rejected on the ground that psychiatric diagnosis requires psychiatrists to be able to distinguish between good and bad reasons in both remitted and unremitted patients. If psychiatrists cannot do that, psychiatric diagnosis is impossible.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5930.1986.tb00367.x
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Rem B. Edwards (1981). Mental Health as Rational Autonomy. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 6 (3):309-322.

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