Inquiry 52 (1):79 – 107 (2009)
With the waves of reform occurring in mental health legislation in England and other jurisdictions, mental capacity is set to become a key medico-legal concept. The concept is central to the law of informed consent and is closely aligned to the philosophical concept of autonomy. It is also closely related to mental disorder. This paper explores the interdisciplinary terrain where mental capacity is located. Our aim is to identify core dilemmas and to suggest pathways for future interdisciplinary research. The terrain can be separated into three types of discussion: philosophical, legal and psychiatric. Each discussion approaches mental capacity and judgmental autonomy from a different perspective yet each discussion struggles over two key dilemmas: whether mental capacity and autonomy is/should be a moral or a psychological notion and whether rationality is the key constitutive factor. We suggest that further theoretical work will have to be interdisciplinary and that this work offers an opportunity for the law to enrich its interpretation of mental capacity, for psychiatry to clarify the normative elements latent in its concepts and for philosophy to advance understanding of autonomy through the study of decisional dysfunction. The new pressures on medical and legal practice to be more explicit about mental capacity make this work a priority.
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References found in this work BETA
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Citations of this work BETA
Unreasonable Reasons: Normative Judgements in the Assessment of Mental Capacity.Natalie F. Banner - 2012 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5):1038-1044.
Emotion and Value in the Evaluation of Medical Decision-Making Capacity: A Narrative Review of Arguments.Helena Hermann, Manuel Trachsel, Bernice S. Elger & Nikola Biller-Andorno - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
Conference Report: Interdisciplinary Workshop in the Philosophy of Medicine: Parentalism and Trust.Emma Cecelia Bullock, Tania Gergel & Elselijn Kingma - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (3):542-8.
Researching the Mental Capacity Act 2005: Reflections on Governance, Field Relationships, and Ethics with an Adult Who Did Not Consent.Godfred Boahen - 2015 - Ethics and Social Welfare 9 (4):375-389.
Concepts of Mental Capacity for Patients Requesting Assisted Suicide: A Qualitative Analysis of Expert Evidence Presented to the Commission on Assisted Dying.Annabel Price, Ruaidhri McCormack, Theresa Wiseman & Matthew Hotopf - 2014 - BMC Medical Ethics 15 (1):32.
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