The Appearance of Kant's Deontology in Contemporary Kantianism: Concepts of Patient Autonomy in Bioethics
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1999 Feb; 24(1): 43-66.
Kant's concept of autonomy and the Kantian notion of autonomy are often conflated in bioethics. However, the contemporary Kantian notion has very little at all to do with Kant's original. In order to further bioethics discourse on autonomy, I critically distinguish the contemporary Kantian notion from Kant's original concept of moral autonomy. I then evaluate the practical relevance of both concepts of autonomy for use in bioethics. I argue that it is not appropriate to appeal to either concept toward assessing which patients we ought to respect as autonomous. Finally, I sketch criteria for what I take to be a more promising concept of autonomy for patients.
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