Our aim is to expand the regulative ideal governing consent. We argue that consent should not only be informed but also based on rational beliefs. We argue that holding true beliefs promotes autonomy. Information is important insofar as it helps a person to hold the relevant true beliefs. But in order to hold the relevant true beliefs, competent people must also think rationally. Insofar as information is important, rational deliberation is important. Just as physicians should aim to provide relevant information regarding the medical procedures prior to patients consenting to have those procedures, they should also assist patients to think more rationally. We distinguish between rational choice/action and rational belief. While autonomous choice need not necessarily be rational, it should be based on rational belief. The implication for the doctrine of informed consent and the practice of medicine is that, if physicians are to respect patient autonomy and help patients to choose and act more rationally, not only must they provide information, but they should care more about the theoretical rationality of their patients. They should not abandon their patients to irrationality. They should help their patients to deliberate more effectively and to care more about thinking rationally. We illustrate these arguments in the context of Jehovah's Witnesses refusing life-saving blood transfusions. Insofar as Jehovah's Witnesses should be informed of the consequences of their actions, they should also deliberate rationally about these consequences.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Other content recommended for you
- Jehovah's Witnesses and autonomy: honouring the refusal of blood transfusions
- The impossibility of informed consent?
- Juggling law, ethics, and intuition: practical answers to awkward questions
- The ethics of policy writing: how should hospitals deal with moral disagreement about controversial medical practices?
- Disfigured anatomies and imperfect analogies: body integrity identity disorder and the supposed right to self-demanded amputation of healthy body parts
- Applying the four principles
- Jehovah’s Witnesses in the emergency department: what are their rights?
- Assessing the ethical weight of cultural, religious and spiritual claims in the clinical context
- Why some Jehovah's Witnesses accept blood and conscientiously reject official Watchtower Society blood policy
- Methods and principles in biomedical ethics