Reviving Ulysses contracts

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (4):373-392 (2003)
Abstract
: Ulysses contracts have faced paternalism objections since they first were proposed. Since the contracts are designed to override a present request from a legally competent patient in favor of a past request made by that patient, enforcement of these contracts was argued to be unjustifiable strong paternalism. Recent legal developments and new theories of practical reasoning suggest that the discussion of Ulysses contracts should be revived. This paper argues that with a proper understanding of the future-directed planning embodied in Ulysses contracts, the charge of strong paternalism can be answered, and the enforcement of some Ulysses contracts may be justified under the rubric of weak paternalism
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