Autonomy and Values: Why the Conventional Theory of Autonomy is Not Value-Neutral

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 22 (1):1-12 (2015)
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One of the most widely accepted views in bioethics is that paternalistic interference in others’ self-regarding decisions is justified only if those decisions are not autonomous. Typically, a decision is autonomous if and only if it satisfies certain psychological criteria. Namely, it must be competent and also voluntary. This latter criterion means, roughly, that the agent herself decided without being controlled or unduly influenced by other persons or impersonal forces, in light her own values.The modern locus classicus of this idea is undoubtedly Beauchamp and Childress ; they claim we have a duty to respect autonomous agents.



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Brent Kious
University of Utah

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