Protecting autonomy as authenticity using Ulysses contracts

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (4):395 – 409 (2005)
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Abstract

Pre-commitment directives or Ulysses contracts are often defended as instruments that may strengthen the autonomous self-control of episodically disordered psychiatric patients. Autonomy is understood in this context in terms of sovereignty ("governing" or "managing" oneself). After critically analyzing this idea of autonomy in the context of various forms of self-commitment and pre-commitment, we argue that what is at stake in using Ulysses contracts in psychiatry is not autonomy as sovereignty, but autonomy as authenticity. Pre-commitment directives do not function to protect autonomous self-control. They serve in upholding the guidance that is provided by one's deepest identity conferring concerns. We elucidate this concept of autonomy as authenticity, by showing how Ulysses contracts protect the possibility of being "a self.".

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References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
The Possibility of Practical Reason.David Velleman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Ulysses and the Sirens: Studies in Rationality and Irrationality.Jon Elster (ed.) - 1979 - Editions De La Maison des Sciences De L'Homme.

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