Reconceiving the Therapeutic Obligation

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (1):55-74 (2014)
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Abstract

The “therapeutic obligation” is a physician’s duty to provide his patients with what he believes is the best available treatment. We begin by discussing some prominent formulations of the obligation before raising two related considerations against those formulations. First, they do not make sense of cases where doctors are permitted to provide suboptimal care. Second, they give incorrect results in cases where doctors are choosing treatments in challenging epistemic environments. We then propose and defend an account of the therapeutic obligation that solves the problems that undermined previous efforts at formulating the TO. We conclude by considering how apparent problems with our proposal actually rest on difficulties with informed consent

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Author Profiles

David Merli
Franklin and Marshall College
Joshua Smith
Central Michigan University

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Epistemology of disagreement: The good news.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.

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