Abstract
In this article some of the presuppositions that underly the current ideas about decision making capacity, autonomy and independence are critically examined. The focus is on chronic disorders, especially on chronic physical disorders. First, it is argued that the concepts of decision making competence and autonomy, as they are usually applied to the problem of legal (in)competence in the mentally ill, need to be modified and adapted to the situation of the chronically (physically) ill. Second, it is argued that autonomy and dependence must not be considered as two mutually exclusive categories. It is suggested that decision making may take on the form of a more or less conscious decision not to be involved in making all kinds of explicit and deliberate decisions. Elaborating on Agich's distinction between ideal and actual autonomy, the concept of Socratic autonomy is introduced
Keywords autonomy  chronic illness  decision making capacity  dependence  multiple sclerosis
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1011497901122
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References found in this work BETA

The Many Faces of Competency.James F. Drane - 1985 - Hastings Center Report 15 (2):17-21.
The Lived Body as Aesthetic Object in Anthropological Medicine.Wim Dekkers - 1999 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2 (2):117-128.
Caring for Decisionally Incapacitated Elderly.Dallas M. High - 1989 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 10 (1).

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Citations of this work BETA

Vulnerable Populations in Research: The Case of the Seriously Ill.Philip J. Nickel - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (3):245-264.

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