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Autonomy, Rationality, and Contemporary Bioethics

Jonathan Pugh


Personal autonomy is often lauded as a key value in contemporary Western bioethics, and the claim that there is an important relationship between autonomy and rationality is often treated as an uncontroversial claim in this sphere. Yet, there is also considerable disagreement about how we should cash out the relationship between rationality and autonomy. In particular, it is unclear whether a rationalist view of autonomy can be compatible with legal judgments that enshrine a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment, regardless of whether ‘… the reasons for making the choice are rational, ir ... More

Keywords: autonomy, rationality, informed consent, decision-making capacity, bioethics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198858584
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198858584.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jonathan Pugh, author
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Applied Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford