The debate over risk-related standards of decisional capacity remains one of the most important and unresolved challenges to our understanding of the demands of informed consent. On one hand, risk-related standards benefit from significant intuitive support. On the other hand, risk-related standards appear to be committed to asymmetrical capacity—a conceptual incoherence. This latter objection can be avoided by holding that risk-related standards are the result of evidential considerations introduced by (i) the reasonable person standard and (ii) the standing assumption that patients have capacity. This evidential approach to justifying risk-related standards of capacity avoids the most significant challenges faced by extant views while grounding risk-related standards in two fairly uncontroversial views in biomedical ethics.
- informed consent
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Contributors I am solely responsible for conceiving of and writing this manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.