Self-determination, incompetence, and medical jurisprudence

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 13 (4):349-365 (1988)
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Abstract

Philosophers and others have criticized the courts for ascribing a right of self-determination to severe incompetents. I defend ascription of a right of self-determination to these incompetents against both conceptual and normative attacks. I argue that a court need make no conceptual error when it ascribes a right of self-determination to a being who never had capacity for rational choice, and I argue that proper judicial deference to reflective conventional morality supports ascription of a right of self-determination to severe incompetents. Keywords: Self-determination, incompetence, person CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?

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