Patient Autonomy, Clinical Decision Making, and the Phenomenological Reduction

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (4):615-627 (2022)
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Phenomenology gives rise to certain ontological considerations that have far-reaching implications for standard conceptions of patient autonomy in medical ethics, and, as a result, the obligations of and to patients in clinical decision-making contexts. One such consideration is the phenomenological reduction in classical phenomenology, a core feature of which is the characterisation of our primary experiences as immediately and inherently meaningful. This paper builds on and extends the analyses of the phenomenological reduction in the works of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty in order to identify and explain its implications for our current understanding of the principle of respect for patient autonomy and the norms of clinical decision making.

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Jonathan Lewis
University of Manchester


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