Autonomy, Trust, and Respect

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (1):10-24 (2015)
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Abstract

This article seeks to explore and analyze the relationship between autonomy and trust, and to show how these findings could be relevant to medical ethics. First, I will argue that the way in which so-called “relational autonomy theories” tie the notions of autonomy and trust together is not entirely satisfying Then, I will introduce the so-called Encapsulated Interest Account as developed by Russell Hardin. This will bring out the importance of the reasons for trust. What good reasons do we have for trusting someone? I will criticize Hardin’s business model as insufficiently robust, especially in the context of health care, and then turn to another source of trust, namely, love. It may seem that trust-through-love is much better suited for the vulnerability that is often involved in health care, but I will also show that it has its own deficiencies. Good health care should therefore pay attention to both models of trust, and I will offer some tentative remarks on how to do this

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Thomas Nys
University of Amsterdam