Health and Autonomy
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 2005; 8(2): 221-230
Individual autonomy is a prominent value in Western medicine and medical ethics, and there it is often accepted that the only way to pay proper respect to autonomy is to let the patients themselves determine what is good for them. Adopting this approach has, however, given rise to some unwanted results, thus motivating a quest for an objective conception of health. Unfortunately, the purportedly objective conceptions of health have failed in objectivity, and if a conception of health is not acceptable for all agents, the threat of offending the patients' autonomy arises. This article sketches an objective conception of health that is able to respect individual autonomy.
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