Paternalism in the Name of Autonomy

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (6):jht049 (2013)
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Different ideas of the normative relevance of autonomy can give rise to profoundly different action-guiding principles in healthcare. If autonomy is seen as a value rather than as a right, it can be argued that patients’ decisions should sometimes be overruled in order to protect or promote their own autonomy. We refer to this as paternalism in the name of autonomy. In this paper, we discuss different elements of autonomy (decision-making capacity, efficiency, and authenticity) and arguments in favor of paternalism for the sake of autonomy that have been proposed in the bioethical debate. We argue that if autonomy is valuable, then paternalism for the sake of autonomy may be justified. However, policies allowing paternalism in the name of autonomy may be self-defeating



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References found in this work

Existential autonomy: why patients should make their own choices.H. Madder - 1997 - Journal of Medical Ethics 23 (4):221-225.
Autonomy & the Refusal of Lifesaving Treatment.Bruce L. Miller - 1981 - Hastings Center Report 11 (4):22-28.
Autonomy, Wellbeing, and the Case of the Refusing Patient.Jukka Varelius - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (1):117-125.

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