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Toward an Agent-Centered Theory of Voluntariness
Filosofi och historia, KTH, Skolan för arkitektur och samhällsbyggnad (ABE), Filosofi och teknikhistoria, Filosofi.ORCID-id: 0000-0003-1456-4352
(Engelska)Manuskript (preprint) (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

The concept of voluntariness is central to informed consent and personal autonomy, yet it has been underexplored by bioethicists. There are various theories intended to explain voluntary choice and action. None is fully agent-centered, in the sense that the conceptualization of voluntariness takes into account the agent’s views of her decisions and actions. An agent-centered theory of voluntariness would promote analytical precision, and foster autonomy in healthcare and research practices. According to the most influential bioethical theory of voluntariness, here called the Voluntariness as Control theory, an action is non-voluntary if the agent is controlled by external influences. The theory is critically discussed from an agent-centered perspective, and a new conceptualization of voluntariness is proposed.

Nyckelord [en]
voluntariness, autonomy, informed consent, agent-centered, bioethics
Nationell ämneskategori
Etik
Forskningsämne
Filosofi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-212299OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-212299DiVA, id: diva2:1134054
Forskningsfinansiär
Vetenskapsrådet, 2014-4024Forte, Forskningsrådet för hälsa, arbetsliv och välfärd, 2014-4024
Anmärkning

QC 20170821

Tillgänglig från: 2017-08-17 Skapad: 2017-08-17 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-08-21Bibliografiskt granskad
Ingår i avhandling
1. Personal Autonomy and Informed Consent: Conceptual and Normative Analyses
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Personal Autonomy and Informed Consent: Conceptual and Normative Analyses
2017 (Engelska)Licentiatavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis is comprised of a “kappa” and two articles. The kappa includes an account of personal autonomy and informed consent, an explanation of how the concepts and articles relate to each other, and a summary in Swedish.

Article 1 treats one problem with the argument that a patient’s consent to treatment is valid only if it is authentic, i.e., if it is “genuine,” “truly her own,” “not out of character,” or similar. As interventions with a patient’s life and liberties must be justified, the argument presupposes that the authenticity of desires can be reliably determined. If the status of a desire in terms of authenticity cannot be reliably determined, discarding the desire-holder’s treatment decision on the basis that it is inauthentic is morally unjustified. In the article, I argue that no theory of authenticity that is present in the relevant literature can render reliably observable consequences. Therefore, the concept of authenticity, as it is understood in those theories, should not be part of informed consent practices.

Article 2 discusses the problem of what it is to consent or refuse voluntarily. In it, I argue that voluntariness should be more narrowly understood than what is common. My main point is that a conceptualization of voluntariness should be agent-centered, i.e., take into account the agent’s view of her actions. Among other things, I argue that an action is non-voluntary only if the agent thinks of it as such when being coerced. This notion, which at first look may seem uncontroversial, entails the counterintuitive conclusion that an action can be voluntary although the agent has been manipulated or coerced into doing it. In defense of the notion, I argue that if the agent’s point of view is not considered accordingly, describing her actions as non-voluntary can be alien to how she leads her life. There are other moral concepts available to describe what is wrong with manipulation and coercion, i.e., to make sense of the counterintuitive conclusion. Voluntariness should be reserved to fewer cases than what is commonly assumed.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, 2017. s. 65
Serie
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831
Nationell ämneskategori
Etik
Forskningsämne
Filosofi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-212300 (URN)978-91-7729-495-5 (ISBN)
Presentation
2017-10-20, 16:04 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Forskningsfinansiär
Vetenskapsrådet, 2014-4024Forte, Forskningsrådet för hälsa, arbetsliv och välfärd, 2014-4024
Anmärkning

QC 20170821

Tillgänglig från: 2017-08-21 Skapad: 2017-08-17 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-08-21Bibliografiskt granskad

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