Autonomy and dependence: Chronic physical illness and decision-making capacity

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (2):185-192 (2001)
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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

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References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Autonomy and Long-Term Care.George J. Agich - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
The Many Faces of Competency.James F. Drane - 1985 - Hastings Center Report 15 (2):17.

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