How to Respect the Will of Mentally Ill Persons?

  • Theda Rehbock
Keywords: autonomy, informed consent, advance directives, dementia


In this article I oppose the current account of autonomy and informed consent in bioethics through criticising the four underlying prejudices of an objectivistic, dualistic, rationalistic and individualistic misunderstanding of the will. With special regard to the case of patients with dementia I argue for the thesis that the principle of autonomy, as moral principles in general, has unconditional and universal validity, but has to be applied differently in the face of specific situations and circumstances by means of the power of judgment (Urteilskraft). As the philosophical resp. anthropological basis of my argument I develop a broad understanding of the will in an Aristotelian and phenomenological sense. The practical consequences of my thesis consist in the ethical requirement of equal respect for the will of mentally ill patients.

How to Cite
Rehbock, T. (2013). How to Respect the Will of Mentally Ill Persons?. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 6(2), 22-37.