Obtaining informed consent from patients prior to a medical or surgical procedure is a fundamental part of safe and ethical clinical practice. Currently, it is routine for a significant part of the consent process to be delegated to members of the clinical team not performing the procedure (e.g. junior doctors). However, it is common for consent-taking delegates to lack sufficient time and clinical knowledge to adequately promote patient autonomy and informed decision-making. Such problems might be addressed in a number of (...) ways. One possible solution to this clinical dilemma is through the use of conversational artificial intelligence (AI) using large language models (LLMs). There is considerable interest in the potential benefits of such models in medicine. For delegated procedural consent, LLM could improve patients’ access to the relevant procedural information and therefore enhance informed decision-making. -/- In this paper, we first outline a hypothetical example of delegation of consent to LLMs prior to surgery. We then discuss existing clinical guidelines for consent delegation and some of the ways in which current practice may fail to meet the ethical purposes of informed consent. We outline and discuss the ethical implications of delegating consent to LLMs in medicine concluding that at least in certain clinical situations, the benefits of LLMs potentially far outweigh those of current practices. (shrink)
The dominant approach to assessing decision-making capacity in medicine focuses on determining the extent to which individuals possess certain core cognitive abilities. Critics have argued that this model delivers the wrong verdict in certain cases where patient values that are the product of mental disorder or disordered affective states undermine decision-making without undermining cognition. I argue for a re-conceptualization of what it is to possess the capacity to make medical treatment decisions. It is, I argue, the ability to track one’s (...) own personal interests at least as well as most people can. Using this idea, I demonstrate that it is possible to craft a solution for the problem cases—one that neither alters existing criteria in dangerous ways (e.g. does not open the door to various kinds of abuse) nor violates widely accepted ethical constraints on decision-making assessment. (shrink)
In medical sciences, health is measured by reference to our species-typical anatomy and functional integrity – the objective standard of human health. Proponents of transhumanism are committed to biomedical enhancement of human beings by augmenting our species-typical anatomy and functional integrity. I argue that this normative impasse is not only a problem for the transhumanist movement, but also undermines the rationale for some common medical interventions.
In this paper, we illustrate some serious difficulties involved in conveying information about uncertain risks and securing informed consent for risky interventions in a clinical setting. We argue that in order to secure informed consent for a medical intervention, physicians often need to do more than report a bare, numerical probability value. When probabilities are given, securing informed consent generally requires communicating how probability expressions are to be interpreted and communicating something about the quality and quantity of the evidence for (...) the probabilities reported. Patients may also require guidance on how probability claims may or may not be relevant to their decisions, and physicians should be ready to help patients understand these issues. (shrink)
Previously proposed strategies for tackling hermeneutical injustices take for granted the interests people have in certain things about them being intelligible to them and/or to others, and seek to enable them to satisfy these interests. Strategies of this sort I call interests-as-given strategies. I propose that some hermeneutical injustices can instead be tackled by doing away with certain of these interests, and so with the possibility of their unfair non-satisfaction. Strategies of this sort I call interests-in-question strategies. As a case (...) study in when such an interests-in-question strategy ought to be pursued, I look at how to tackle hermeneutical injustices arising in the context of gender-affirming healthcare as provided to adults by the National Health Service in the UK. I argue that considerations of trust, privacy, and respect all support pursuing such a strategy. One way to do so, I suggest, would be by replacing the existing gatekeeping model with an informed consent model for the provision of gender-affirming healthcare. Considerations of hermeneutical justice can hence be added to the already-impressive case for undertaking this shift. (shrink)
Are emotions bodily feelings or evaluative cognitions? What is happiness, pain, or “being moved”? Are there basic emotions? In this chapter, I review extant empirical work concerning these and related questions in the philosophy of emotion. This will include both (1) studies investigating people’s emotional experiences and (2) studies investigating people’s use of emotion concepts in hypothetical cases. Overall, this review will show the potential of using empirical research methods to inform philosophical questions regarding emotion.
Informed consent is a central concept for empirical and theoretical research concerning pregnancy management decisions and is often taken to be one of the more fundamental goals of the profession of genetic counseling. Tellingly, this concept has been seen by disability communities as salutary, despite longstanding critiques made by disability activists, advocates, and scholars concerning practices involved in genetic counseling more generally. In this chapter, we show that the widespread faith in informed consent is misleading and can be detrimental to (...) the practice of genetic counseling as guided by concerns of justice and equity. We proceed in two steps. First, we explain how informed consent is flawed as a practical concept. Second, we show how the inadequacy of informed consent illuminates the animating core of disability critiques of genetic counseling: the issue of ableism. We argue that the problem of ableism cannot be solved with informed consent because it is not merely a problem of information, but also of epistemic schemas. We suggest that what we call critically informed consent is better suited to move genetic counseling from being aware of the problem of ableism to becoming actively anti-ableist. (shrink)
Suppose that a patient is receiving treatment options from her doctor. In one case, the doctor says, “the surgery has a 90% survival rate.” Now, suppose the doctor instead said, “the procedure has a 10% mortality rate.” Predictably, the patient is more likely to consent on the first description and more likely to dissent on the second. This is an example of a framing effect. A framing effect occurs when “the description of [logically-equivalent] options in terms of gains (positive frame) (...) rather than losses (negative frame) elicits systematically different choices.” Framing effects are ubiquitous, but they are particularly troublesome in medicine. Many worry that there is tension between valuing informed consent and using framing effects in clinical settings. In this paper, I answer this question: if an individual is subject to a framing effect when she gives her consent, does this undermine the validity of her consent? I argue that framing effects do not undermine consent in general. (shrink)
In the American medical system, patients do not know the final price of treatment until long after the treatment is given, at which point it is too late to say ‘no.’ I argue that without price disclosure many, perhaps all, tokens of consent in clinical medicine fall below the standard of valid, informed consent. This is a sweeping and broad thesis. The reason for this thesis is surprisingly simple: medical services rarely have prices attached to them which are known to (...) the patient prior to treatment. Yet, for many patients, knowledge of the price is relevant to whether they would give consent. If informed consent requires that patients know all information about their treatment that is relevant to their decision, then consent to a medical intervention in the absence of the price is not informed consent. (shrink)
The importance of medical confidentiality is obvious to anyone who has ever been a patient, and protecting private information about patients is one of the key responsibilities of healthcare professionals. However, maintaining the confidentiality of patients who are incarcerated in prisons poses several ethical challenges. In this chapter we explain the importance of confidentiality in general, and the dilemmas that sometimes face doctors with regard to it, before describing some of the specific difficulties faced by prison doctors. Although healthcare professionals (...) working in prisons have the same duty to respect confidentiality as those working in the wider community, the conflicts of interest caused by their dual loyalty to prisoners and to prison authorities can make it very difficult to strike the right balance between respecting confidentiality and protecting prisoners and third parties. We illustrate some of the dilemmas facing prison doctors with a series of case discussions before providing suggestions for resolving these difficult situations. Ideally, a combination of great ethical and legal sensitivity on the part of healthcare professionals and general respect for prisoners’ rights on the part of other prison staff enables most issues to be resolved without the need to compromise patients’ confidentiality. (shrink)
It is well known that prisoners’ human rights are often violated. In this chapter we examine whether guidelines can be effective in preventing such violations and in helping physicians resolve the significant conflicts of interest that they often face in trying to protect prisoners’ rights. We begin by explaining the role of clinical and ethical guidelines outside prisons, in the context of healthcare for non-incarcerated prisoners, and then the specific role of such guidelines within prisons, where the main concerns are (...) ensuring respect for the principle of equivalence of care, and for a prisoner patient’s autonomy in health care decisions. After reviewing and analysing various national and international guidelines, we review the literature and assess whether the good practices set out in these guidelines actually translate into changes in professional behaviour and consequent benefits for prisoners. It emerges that physicians both outside and within prisons tend to be insufficiently familiar with the relevant guidelines, and that they too infrequently use the guidance to make decisions, preferring instead to use personal codes of conduct. Guidelines designed specifically for the prison context are important to ensure equivalence of care and should be better known by health care personnel and other professional groups working in prison. Further guidelines should be developed that describe challenging situations and provide concrete guidance as to how to deal with them. (shrink)
Informed consent, when given by proxy, has limitations: chiefly, it must be made in the interest of the patient. Here we critique the standard approach to parental consent, as present in Canada and the UK. Parents are often asked for consent, but are not given the authority to refuse medically beneficial treatment in many situations. This prompts the question of whether it is possible for someone to consent if they cannot refuse. We present two alternative and philosophically more consistent frameworks (...) for paediatric proxy consent. The first allows meaningful consent (parents may say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to treatment), provided that parents are medically informed/competent and intend the health and well-being of their child. In the second solution, medical practitioners or the state consent for treatment, with parents only being consulted to help give insight to the child’s circumstances. While we contend that either of these two options is superior to the insincerity of the present paradigm, we suggest that the first solution is preferable. (shrink)
Background -/- Innovative neurosurgical treatments present a number of known risks, the natures and probabilities of which can be adequately communicated to patients via the standard procedures governing obtaining informed consent. However, due to their novelty, these treatments also come with unknown risks, which require an augmented approach to obtaining informed consent. -/- Objective -/- This paper aims to discuss and provide concrete procedural guidance on the ethical issues raised by serious unexpected complications of novel deep brain stimulation treatments. -/- (...) Approach -/- We illustrate our analysis using a case study of the unexpected development of recurrent stereotyped events in patients following the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat severe chronic pain. Examining these unexpected complications in light of medical ethical principles, we argue that serious complications of novel DBS treatments do not necessarily make it unethical to offer the intervention to eligible patients. However, the difficulty the clinician faces in determining whether the intervention is in the patient's best interests generates reasons to take extra steps to promote the autonomous decision making of these patients. -/- Conclusion and recommendations -/- We conclude with clinical recommendations, including details of an augmented consent process for novel DBS treatment. (shrink)
Is it possible to donate unpaired vital organs, foreseeing but not intending one’s own death? We argue that this is indeed psychologically possible, and thus far agree with Charles Camosy and Joseph Vukov in their recent paper on “double effect donation.” Where we disagree with these authors is that we see double-effect donation not as a morally praiseworthy act akin to mar- tyrdom but as a morally impermissible act that necessarily disrespects human bodily integrity. Respect for bodily integrity goes beyond (...) avoiding the aim to kill; not all side effects of deliberate bodily interventions can be outweighed by intended benefits for another even if the subject fully consents. It is not any necessary intention to kill or harm another or oneself that makes lethal donation/harvesting illicit but the more immediate intention to accept or perform surgery on an (innocent) person combined with the foresight of lethal harm and no health-related good for him or her. Double-effect donation falls foul of the first condition of double-effect reasoning in that the immediate act is wrong in itself. We argue further that the wider effects of such don- ation would be socially disastrous and corrupting of the medical profession: doctors should retain a sense of nonnegotiable respect for bodily integrity even when they intervene on willing subjects for the benefit of others. (shrink)
Rapidly advancing technologies in the field of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) have presented a new challenge in accurate neuroprognostication following cardiac arrest. Determination of brain state informs the prognostic picture and allows providers to begin effective communication regarding likelihood of meaningful neurological recovery as defined by patients or family members. The evolving role of sedation during ECPR and its impacts on ethical tension in decision-making is reviewed. Work surrounding the advancing field of neuroprognostication after cardiac arrest and hypothermia is summarized (...) and implications of premature withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments are discussed. Advances that improve predictive value for neurological recovery are utilized in affirming and discussing the implications for end-of-life wishes of individuals in the setting of intensive resuscitative therapies. (shrink)
According to what Douglas calls ‘the consent requirement’, neuro-correctives can only permissibly be provided with the valid consent of the offender who will undergo the intervention. Some of those who endorse the consent requirement have claimed that even though the requirement prohibits the imposition of mandatory neurocorrectives on criminal offenders, it may yet be permissible to offer offenders the opportunity to consent to undergoing such an intervention, in return for a reduction to their penal sentence. I call this the neurocorrective (...) offer. In this chapter I consider the coercion-based objection to the neurocorrective offer, which claims that offenders cannot provide valid consent to undergoing a neurocorrective on the basis of this offer because it is inherently coercive. Having outlined early formulations of this argument, I point out that there are in fact two different versions of this objection, which appeal to different understandings of the concepts of coercion, consent and voluntariness. (shrink)
Under the current Mental Health Act of England and Wales, it is lawful to perform deep brain stimulation in the absence of consent and independent approval. We argue against the Care Quality Commission's preferred strategy of addressing this problematic issue, and offer recommendations for deep brain stimulation-specific provisions in a revised Mental Health Act.
Deep Brain Stimulation is currently being investigated as an experimental treatment for patients suffering from treatment-refractory AN, with an increasing number of case reports and small-scale trials published. Although still at an exploratory and experimental stage, initial results have been promising. Despite the risks associated with an invasive neurosurgical procedure and the long-term implantation of a foreign body, DBS has a number of advantageous features for patients with SE-AN. Stimulation can be fine-tuned to the specific needs of the particular patient, (...) is relatively reversible, and the technique also allows for the crucial issue of investigating and comparing the effects of different neural targets. However, at a time when DBS is emerging as a promising investigational treatment modality for AN, lesioning procedures in psychiatry are having a renaissance. Of concern it has been argued that the two kinds of interventions should instead be understood as rivaling, yet “mutually enriching paradigms” despite the fact that lesioning the brain is irreversible and there is no evidence base for an effective target in AN. We argue that lesioning procedures in AN are unethical at this stage of knowledge and seriously problematic for this patient group, for whom self-control is particularly central to wellbeing. They pose a greater risk of major harms that cannot justify ethical equipoise, despite the apparent superiority in reduced short term surgical harms and lower cost. (shrink)
The use of machine learning, or “artificial intelligence” (AI) in medicine is widespread and growing. In this paper, I focus on a specific proposed clinical application of AI: using models to predict incapacitated patients’ treatment preferences. Drawing on results from machine learning, I argue this proposal faces a special moral problem. Machine learning researchers owe us assurance on this front before experimental research can proceed. In my conclusion I connect this concern to broader issues in AI safety.
This article is about the information relevant to decision-making capacity in refusal of life-prolonging medical treatment cases. We examine the degree to which the phenomenology of the options available to the agent—what the relevant states of affairs will feel like for them—forms part of the capacity-relevant information in the law of England and Wales, and how this informational basis varies across adolescent and adult medical treatment cases. We identify an important doctrinal phenomenon. In the leading authorities, the courts appear to (...) count the first-personal phenomenology of the available options among the information that adolescents seeking to refuse life-prolonging treatment must understand and appreciate in order to possess capacity; adults are not held to this (higher) standard. We evaluate this differential treatment in light of philosophical work on transformative choice—decisions involving options whose sensory character, and effect on our values and preferences, are grasped only through experience itself. (shrink)
This article argues that non-consensual vaccination is morally impermissible, for the same reasons for which sexual assault is not permissible. Likewise, mandatory vaccination is morally akin to sexual harassment, and therefore is not to be allowed.
Philosophers have become newly interested in the ethics of sex. One promising feature of this new discussion is that it has been broadening our moral lens to include individuals whose sexual interests have historically been denied or ignored. One such group is the elderly. Contrary to popular belief, many elderly people want to have sex and see it as a regular part of their lives. If society harbors ignorance about or prejudice against elderly sexuality, it harbors stronger views against the (...) sexual expression of elderly people with dementia. People with dementia are often prohibited by nursing‐home staff, sometimes in extreme ways, from having sex with their partners. This prohibition is at least partly motivated by the goal of protecting the vulnerable. However, cutting people with dementia off from sex has negative health effects and is a needless restriction of their autonomy. In this article, I argue that the expanding moral lens in sexual ethics should include the sexual expression of elderly individuals with dementia and that their sexual expression should be respected. Specifically, I argue that many people with dementia are competent to consent to sexual activity with their long‐term partners. (shrink)
This paper explores how transformative experience generates decision-making problems of particular seriousness in medical settings. Potentially transformative experiences are especially likely to be encountered in medicine, and the associated decisions are confronted jointly by patients and clinicians in the context of an imbalance of power and expertise. However in such scenarios the principle of informed consent, which plays a central role in guiding clinicians, is unequal to the task. We detail how the principle’s assumptions about autonomy, rationality and information handle (...) transformative experiences poorly, appealing to several difficult cases for medical decision-making to illustrate the resulting problem, and we consider how the existing literature on complications with consent fails to offer a resolution. We argue that recognition of the problem has a role to play in achieving a more effective response to transformative decisions. In Sect. 1 we introduce several representative cases of challenging patient decision-making that clinicians might face. In Sect. 2 we detail how transformative experience has been analysed in the recent literature, before outlining in Sect. 3 the theoretical basis of the principle of informed consent, which plays a central role in how clinicians are expected to support decision-making. In Sect. 4, having laid the groundwork for a clear description, we return to the cases given in Sect. 1 to confirm how their transformative nature presents a problem: either clinicians treat the decisions faced by these patients as ‘normal’, encouraging them to focus on information provision that patients may be unable to act on, or they treat them as transformative, in which case they lack the resources to recognise whether they are helping patients make (subjectively) good decisions. In Sect. 5 we argue that the existing literature does not offer any escape from this problem. We close in Sect. 6 by noting the significant impact that appreciating the problem of transformative experience could have on supporting transformative decisions in medicine and briefly suggesting how we might aim to develop new approaches to dealing with these. (shrink)
An important philosophical issue in the study of addiction is what difference the fact that a person is addicted makes to attributions of autonomy (and responsibility) to their drug-oriented behavior. In spite of accumulating evidence suggesting the role of emotional dysregulation in understanding addiction, it has received surprisingly little attention in the debate about this issue. I claim that, as a result, an important aspect of the autonomy impairment of many addicted individuals has been largely overlooked. A widely shared assumption (...) in the philosophical literature is that for addiction to impair a person’s autonomy it has to make them (in some sense) take drugs against their will. So-called “willing addicts” are therefore usually seen as exempted from the autonomy impairment believed to characterize “unwilling addicts”, the latter being those who ‘truly want’ to stop using drugs but find their attempts repeatedly derailed by failures of self-control. In this article, I argue that the association between addiction and emotional dysregulation shows why this assumption is false. Emotional dysregulation is not only consistent with the possibility that many addicts take drugs ‘willingly’, it supports the hypothesis that they use drugs because they truly want to. The article proposes an explanation for why emotional dysregulation should nevertheless be seen as an aspect of their loss of control and an important reason why they have impaired autonomy. I end by exploring some implications of this account for addict’s decision-making capacity when they are prescribed the drugs to which they are addicted. -/- . (shrink)
Voluntariness is a necessary condition of valid consent. But determining whether a person consented voluntarily can be difficult, especially when people are subjected to coercion or manipulation, placed in a situation with no acceptable alternative other than to consent to something, or find themselves in an abusive relationship. This book presents a novel view on the voluntariness of consent, especially medical consent, which the author calls Interpersonal Consenter-Consentee Justification (ICCJ). According to this view, consent is voluntary if and only if (...) the process by which it has been obtained aligns with principles of interpersonal justification. ICCJ is distinctive because it explains voluntary consent neither as a 'psychological' concept indicative of the inner states of a person's mind (e.g. willingness or reluctance) nor as a 'circumstantial' concept indicative of a person's set of options. Rather, ICCJ explains the voluntariness of consent as an 'interpersonal' concept requiring the absence of illegitimate control within the interaction between the person giving consent and the person receiving it. In so doing, ICCJ further develops the notion of interpersonal justification, known from contractualist theories in moral philosophy, and introduces it to the debate on consent. The author employs a top-down approach, defending ICCJ's key characteristics on the basis of general theoretical arguments, as well as a bottom-up approach, supporting ICCJ in its application to clinical challenges such as nudging and manipulation, living organ donation, and clinical trials. Voluntary Consent will appeal to researchers and advanced students in normative ethics, bioethics, philosophy of law, behavioural psychology, and medicine. (shrink)
Smajdor argues that “recognition” is the solution to the “reifying attitude” that results from “the urge to protect ‘vulnerable’ people through exclusion from research”. Drawing on theories of reification, we argue that it is the concepts of autonomy and vulnerability themselves that have been reified, resulting in the impoverishment of approaches to autonomy at law and in research ethics. Overcoming such reification demands a deeper consideration of the grounds on which vulnerable individuals are owed recognition and thereby the forms such (...) recognition should take. Smajdor argues for a recognition that appeals to autonomy and that manifests in providing vulnerable individuals with the opportunity to assent. The problem is that this kind of recognition is dependent on a more fundamental kind. It is this second form of recognition that would need to do the heavy lifting for assent-based frameworks to avoid the same problems we find with consent. (shrink)
Definition of the problem The umbrella term “explicability” refers to the reduction of opacity of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. These efforts are challenging for medical AI applications because higher accuracy often comes at the cost of increased opacity. This entails ethical tensions because physicians and patients desire to trace how results are produced without compromising the performance of AI systems. The centrality of explicability within the informed consent process for medical AI systems compels an ethical reflection on the trade-offs. Which (...) levels of explicability are needed to obtain informed consent when utilizing medical AI? Arguments We proceed in five steps: First, we map the terms commonly associated with explicability as described in the ethics and computer science literature, i.e., disclosure, intelligibility, interpretability, and explainability. Second, we conduct a conceptual analysis of the ethical requirements for explicability when it comes to informed consent. Third, we distinguish hurdles for explicability in terms of epistemic and explanatory opacity. Fourth, this then allows to conclude the level of explicability physicians must reach and what patients can expect. In a final step, we show how the identified levels of explicability can technically be met from the perspective of computer science. Throughout our work, we take diagnostic AI systems in radiology as an example. Conclusion We determined four levels of explicability that need to be distinguished for ethically defensible informed consent processes and showed how developers of medical AI can technically meet these requirements. (shrink)
Philosophical work on the concept of consent in the past few decades has got to grips with it as a rich notion. We are increasingly sensitive to consent not as a momentary, atomic, transactional thing, but as a complex idea admitting of various qualities and dimensions. In this paper we note that the recognition of this complexity demands a theoretical framework quite different to those presently extant, and we suggest that the enactive approach is one which offers significant value in (...) this regard. In consonance with arguments made by Laurie Penny about how consent is a continuous and dynamic process, we outline how an enactive approach identifies consent as temporally extended (rather than momentarily transactional), and as affected by the skilfulness of the agents involved, the fitness of community provided resources to negotiate the consensual relationship over time, and the unfolding of circumstances in the situation in which the joint action is taking place. We argue that the value of an enactive perspective on consent is in highlighting these complexities, and providing resources to articulate and theorise them in ways that are not open to other current approaches. (shrink)
The reductionist/anti-reductionist debate about testimonial justification (and knowledge) can be taken to collapse into a controversy about two kinds of underlying monitoring mechanism. The nature and structure of this mechanism remains an enigma in the debate. We suggest that the underlying monitoring mechanism amounts to emotion-based stereotyping. Our main argument in favor of the stereotype hypothesis about testimonial monitoring is that the underlying psychological mechanism responsible for testimonial monitoring has several conditions to satisfy. Each of these conditions is satisfied by (...) our “hot” stereotypical capacities. Intergroup emotions play a key role here. Intergroup emotions inform the agent about which candidate stereotype is better suited to the current situation. Emotions serve as evidence that makes a certain stereotype and its particular profile of features more or less expected. (shrink)
Research on salesperson creativity remains as one of the most under-researched topics in the sales literature despite the evidence that encouraging creativity in the sales domain is a source of competitive advantage. This paper aims to fill this research gap by exploring the influence of perceived ethical climate on salesperson creative performance, paying special attention to the role that emotions play in this process. Data provided by 176 supervisor–salesperson dyads confirm that the trust/responsibility dimension of an ethical climate is positively (...) related to salesperson creative selling by increasing salespeople's organizational pride. Similarly, the perception of unethical selling practices negatively affects salesperson organizational pride, reducing the expression of creative behaviors. Moreover, the negative effect of unethical selling practices on creative performance is stronger (more negative) when salespeople's identification with an organization increases. Managerial implications and future research directions are also addressed. (shrink)
Drawing from the grounded theory of work engagement, this research aims to explore three essential yet previously unexamined pathways—work meaningfulness, emotion regulation, and job competence in simultaneously transmitting the effects of mindfulness training to employee experience of work engagement. We employed a six-wave quasi-experimental design and recruited 129 employees to participate in the quasi-experiment, and tested our simultaneous mediating models using the structural equation modeling. Results showed that mindfulness facilitated employees’ work meaningfulness, emotion regulation, and job competence, which in turn (...) enhanced employee work engagement. By doing so, we add to the mindfulness literature by showing that the three essential psychological states are important machanims that link mindfulness to work engagement. Practicially, this research reveals that mindfulness training is an effective tool to influence employees’ psychological states, which ultimately develop their work engagement in the workplace. (shrink)
This commentary defends 3 arguments for changing the label of levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception (LNG EC) so that it no longer supports the possibility of a mechanism of action after fertilization. First, there is no direct scientific evidence confirming any postfertilization mechanisms. Second, despite the weight of evidence, there is still widespread public misunderstanding over the mechanism of LNG EC. Third, this FDA label is not a value-free claim, but instead it has functioned like a political tool for reducing contraceptive access. (...) The label is laden with antiabortion values (even though EC is contraception, not abortion), and it imposes these values on potential users, resulting in barriers to access such as with Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. These 3 arguments together provide scientific, social, and ethical grounds for the FDA to take the initiate in changing Plan B's drug label. (shrink)
Regarding the appropriateness of deception in clinical practice, two (apparently conflicting) claims are often emphasised. First, that ‘clinicians should not deceive their patients.’ Second, that deception is sometimes ‘in a patient’s best interest.’ Recently, Hardman has worked towards resolving this conflict by exploring ways in which deceptive and non-deceptive practices extend beyond consideration of patients’ beliefs. In short, some practices only seem deceptive because of the (common) assumption that non-deceptive care is solely aimed at fostering true beliefs. Non-deceptive care, however, (...) relates to patients’ non-doxastic attitudes in important ways as well. As such, Hardman suggests that by focusing on belief alone, we sometimes misidentify non-deceptive care as ‘deceptive’. Further, once we consider patients’ beliefs and non-doxastic attitudes, identifying cases of deception becomes more difficult than it may seem. In this essay, I argue that Hardman’s reasoning contains at least three serious flaws. First, his account of deception is underdeveloped, as it does not state whether deception must be intentional. The problem is that if intention is not required, absurd results follow. Alternatively, if intention is required, then identifying cases of deception will be much easier (in principle) than Hardman suggests. Second, Hardman mischaracterises the ‘inverse’ of deceptive care. Doing so leads to the mistaken conclusion that common conceptions of non-deceptive care are unjustifiably narrow. Third, Hardman fails to adequately separate questions about deception from questions about normativity. By addressing these issues, however, we can preserve some of Hardman’s most important insights, although in a much simpler, more principled way. (shrink)
In Responsible Brains, Hirstein, Sifferd and Fagan apply the language of cognitive neuroscience to dominant understandings of criminal responsibility in criminal law theory. The Authors make a compelling case that, under such dominant understandings, criminal responsibility eventually ‘translates’ into a minimal working set of executive functions that are primarily mediated by the frontal lobes of the brain. In so arguing, the Authors seem to unquestioningly accept the law’s view of the “responsible person” as a mixture of cognitive capacities and mechanisms—thereby (...) leaving aside other fundamental aspects of individuals’ human agency. This commentary article offers a critique of the Authors’ rationalist and individualist approach. The critique can be summarized through the following claim: We humans, as responsible beings, are more than our executive functions. This claim articulates through four main points of discussion: role of emotions in moral judgments and behavior; executive functions and normative criteria for legal insanity; impact of adverse situational factors on executive functions; Authors’ account of punishment and, especially, rehabilitation. (shrink)
How should we respond to patients who do not wish to take on the responsibility and burdens of making decisions about their own care? In this paper, we argue that existing models of decision-making in modern healthcare are ill-equipped to cope with such patients and should be supplemented by an “appointed fiduciary” model where decision-making authority is formally transferred to a medical professional. Healthcare decisions are often complex and for patients can come at time of vulnerability. While this does not (...) undermine their capacity, it can be excessively burdensome. Most existing models of decision-making mandate that patients with capacity must retain ultimate responsibility for decisions. An appointed fiduciary model provides a formalized mechanism through which those few patients who wish to defer responsibility can hand over decision-making authority. By providing a formal structure for deferring to an appointed fiduciary, the confusions and risks of the informal transfers that can occur in practice are avoided. Finally, we note how appropriate governance and law can provide safeguards against risks to the welfare of patients and medical professionals. -/- . (shrink)
The role emotions play in the dynamics of cultural phenomena has long been neglected. The collection of articles recently published in Emotion Review provides an important first step into this necessary endeavor. In this commentary, we discuss this contribution by emphasizing the role epistemological parsimony should play in the future of this research agenda. The cultural behavior and emotions of chimpanzees is taken as reference.
In 2016, this Journal published an article by Rob Lawlor1 on what we might call the acceptance-refusal asymmetry in competence requirements. This is the view that there can be cases in which a patient is sufficiently competent to accept a treatment ( viz., to give consent to it), but not sufficiently competent to refuse it ( viz., to withhold consent to it). Though the main purpose of Lawlor’s paper was to distinguish this asymmetry from various other asymmetries with which it (...) has sometimes been confused,1 Lawlor also presented a brief case in favour of it. Developing an earlier argument of Ian Wilks’,2 3 Lawlor argued that, when the risks associated with refusing a treatment are graver than those associated with accepting it, a higher level of competence may be required to refuse a treatment than to accept it. This claim could have important implications for the law, since determinations of competence often play a central role in determining the lawfulness of refusing or imposing a treatment (eg, in England and Wales under the Mental Capacity Act 2005). Indeed, the acceptance-refusal asymmetry in competence requirements, or something close to it, has played an important role in court judgments.2 However, Lawlor himself suggests that his conclusion will have practical implications only in a narrow range of cases.3 In this issue, Pickering, Giles Newton-Howes and Simon Walker (henceforth ‘the authors’) respond to Lawlor’s piece.4 They deny that competence requirements should depend on the level of risk associated with a decision, and thus that there is any basis for the acceptance-refusal asymmetry in competence requirements. Part of the authors’ argument involves contesting the way in which Lawlor uses cases to support his view. In one case cited by Lawlor—and drawn from Wilks—we are invited to consider a whether …. (shrink)
This paper introduces a novel form of pragmatic encroachment: one that makes a difference to the status of emotion rather than the status of belief. I begin by isolating a distinctive standard in terms of which we can evaluate emotion – one sometimes called “subjective fittingness,” “epistemic justification,” or “warrant.” I then show how this standard for emotion could face a kind of pragmatic encroachment importantly similar to the more familiar encroachment on epistemic standards for belief. Encroachment on warranted emotion (...) is a striking proposal that deserves attention. In fact, there are good reasons to think that encroachment on warranted emotion deserves to be considered the default view for those who already accept pragmatic encroachment on the epistemic status of belief. I support this parity claim by arguing for a principle that establishes a limited coordination between the conditions that warrant emotion and the conditions that justify belief. (shrink)
The pelvic exam is used to assess the health of female reproductive organs and so involves digital penetration by a physician. However, it is common practice for medical students to acquire experience in administering pelvic exams by performing them on unconscious patients without prior authorization. In this article, we argue that such unauthorized pelvic exams (UPEs) are sexual assault. Our argument is simple: in any other circumstance, unauthorized digital penetration amounts to sexual assault. Since there are no morally significant differences (...) between UPEs and other instances of digital penetration, UPEs are sexual assault. So, insofar as one is against sexual assault, one should be against UPEs. (shrink)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale research and pharmaceutical regulatory processes have proceeded at a dramatically increased pace with new and effective, evidence-based COVID-19 interventions rapidly making their way into the clinic. However, the swift generation of high-quality evidence and the efficient processing of regulatory authorisation have given rise to more specific and complex versions of well-known research ethics issues. In this paper, we identify three such issues by focusing on the authorisation of Molnupiravir, a novel antiviral medicine aimed (...) at reducing the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to multiply in the body, for clinical use by the National Health Service in England and the concomitant testing of Molnupiravir through the large-scale PANORAMIC randomised control trial. By analysing the ways in which the authorisation and clinical use of Molnupiravir complicate standard approaches to clinical equipoise, standard of care, and participant consent in the PANORAMIC randomised control trial we will explain some of ethical implications for clinical trials that aim to study the efficacy and safety of new COVID-19 and other therapeutics when conditional authorisation has already been granted and when such treatments have already been made available to patients by national health providers. (shrink)
Consent, on a standard theoretical framework, is a way of giving permission or waiving a right. Dougherty’s book is about the ‘scope’ of consent: which acts are permitted by a given act of consent? Along the way, Dougherty offers a view about what consent consists in and why it does its morally transformative work. The book is an exemplar of careful analytic philosophy. Philosophers working on consent in that tradition will find it essential reading. Following are more specific reactions that (...) will, I hope, convey a more specific sense of the book, and also engage and critique it and the tradition it exemplifies. (shrink)