Decisional Capacity: Two Philosophical Issues

Journal of Clinical Ethics 33 (4):333-346 (2022)
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Abstract

In this article I note two ways in which current assessments of patients’ decisional capacity rest on disputable philosophical assumptions. The first disputable assumption concerns the nature of practical reason; the second concerns patients’ articulation of their preferences. I do not argue that clinical practice should be changed. Still, relying on disputable philosophical assumptions can distort the description of such practice. It would be good for philosophers and philosophically oriented clinicians to work with a philosophically accurate account of clinical practice. Moreover, every so often more accurate description might make for better practice.

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Daniel Brudney
University of Chicago

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