Choosing Life, Choosing Death: The Tyranny of Autonomy in by Charles Foster

By Charles Foster

Autonomy is an important precept in clinical legislation and ethics which occupies a in demand position in all medico-legal and moral debate. yet there's a harmful presumption that it may have the single vote, or at the very least the casting vote. This booklet is an attack on that presumption, and an audit of autonomy's outstanding prestige. opting for existence, deciding on dying surveys the most concerns in clinical legislation, noting, with regards to each one factor, the ability wielded via autonomy, asking even if that energy should be justified, and suggesting how different rules can and will give a contribution to the legislation. The book's constitution is greatly chronological. It begins ahead of delivery - with questions on the subject of reproductive know-how and the possession of gametes - and ends after dying - with the problems with regards to the possession of physique components. at the method, it bargains with the prestige of the early embryo and the fetus, the legislation of abortion, confidentiality, consent, clinical litigation, scientific study, and end-of-life decision-making. picking out existence, opting for demise concludes that autonomy's prestige can't be intellectually or ethically justified, and that confident discrimination in prefer of the opposite balancing ideas is urgently wanted in an effort to keep away from a few sinister effects. There are few books which take a pro-life and anti-autonomy stance. this can be a debatable topic that might impress debate between students, judges, and practitioners. Authored via Charles Foster, a largely revered pupil who has written commonly during this sector, picking existence, deciding upon loss of life is a fascinating, realized, and thought-provoking dialogue of the issues principal to the courts' method of moral concerns in scientific legislation.

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Extra resources for Choosing Life, Choosing Death: The Tyranny of Autonomy in Medical Ethics and Law

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The fumes disgorged in the course of free-market enterprise cause the asthma of the village down the road and the desertification of Mali. The same is true wherever we look in health care law. Permit the autonomous designer death of X, and you endanger the autonomy rights of the vulnerable patients that the previous restrictive law was drafted to protect. Force doctors to kill on demand, and you take away the autonomous right to be treated by someone who is not a killer, as well as the doctor’s right not to kill.

Law should be as nuanced as it needs to be. A stultifying reductionism birthed, feeds and is fed by the notion that autonomy is all there is. That reductionism just isn’t up to the job of producing appropriately nuanced law. It is plain, too, that not all autonomous decisions deserve respect. All rightthinking people would condemn an autonomous decision to murder or rape. But does this tell us anything about autonomy’s general claim to rule? 24 This goes rather too far for me: on the basis of the evidence of these beliefs of right-thinking people one might still conclude that autonomy can provide a good general rule, while acknowledging that there must be exceptions to it.

6 The point is well made. If you make doctors mere technicians (by requiring them to suspend their own consciences as soon as they put on their white coats), you gain the advantage of having somebody who will give every patient what he or she wants, but you lose a lot too. Charo identified tangible things—extra hours unmandated by contract, and so on—but surely the intangible things are equally or more important: sympathy, warmth and downright humanity. Medicine talks increasingly about the crucial importance of holistic care.

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