Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Authenticity and autonomy in deep-brain stimulation
  1. Alistair Wardrope
  1. Correspondence to Alistair Wardrope, The Medical School, University of Sheffield, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield S10 2RX, UK; ajbwardrope1{at}


Felicitas Kraemer draws on the experiences of patients undergoing deep-brain stimulation (DBS) to propose two distinct and potentially conflicting principles of respect: for an individual's autonomy (interpreted as mental competence), and for their authenticity. I argue instead that, according to commonly-invoked justifications of respect for autonomy, authenticity is itself in part constitutive of an analysis of autonomy worthy of respect; Kraemer's argument thus highlights the shortcomings of practical applications of respect for autonomy that emphasise competence while neglecting other important dimensions of autonomy such as authenticity, since it shows that competence alone cannot be interpreted as a reliable indicator of an individual's capacity for exercising autonomy. I draw from relational accounts to suggest how respect for a more expansive conception of autonomy might be interpreted for individuals undergoing DBS and in general.

  • Autonomy
  • Neuroethics
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Informed Consent
  • Competence/incompetence

Statistics from

Request Permissions

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