Understanding the Relationship Between Autonomy and Informed Consent: A Response to Taylor

Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (4):483-491 (2013)
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Medical ethicists conventionally assume that the requirement to employ informed consent procedures is grounded in autonomy. It seems intuitively plausible that providing information to an agent promotes his autonomy by better allowing him to steer his life. However, James Taylor questions this view, arguing that any notion of autonomy that grounds a requirement to inform agents turns out to be unrealistic and self-defeating. Taylor thus contends that we are mistaken about the real theoretical grounds for informed consent procedures. Through analysing Taylor's arguments and showing that they do not stand up to scrutiny, it is possible to defend the view that autonomy is a plausible theoretical basis for informed consent, and to enhance our understanding of the relationship between autonomy and informed consent.
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