By Onora O'Neill
Onora O'Neill means that the conceptions of person autonomy (so generally depended on in bioethics) are philosophically and ethically insufficient; they undermine instead of help relationships in line with belief. Her arguments are illustrated with concerns raised by way of such practices because the use of genetic details through the police, study utilizing human tissues, new reproductive applied sciences, and media practices for reporting on drugs, technology and know-how. The learn appeals to a variety of readers in ethics, bioethics and similar disciplines.
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Extra resources for Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (Gifford Lectures, 2001)
Why, we may ask, should any naturalist think that the fact that action arises via one rather than another type of causal pathway invariably make it more independent, or more valuable than it would have been if it had arisen by another causal pathway? Mill hardly ever uses the word autonomy. I have found only a passing reference to the autonomy of states and none to the autonomy of individuals in his writings. I suspect that for Mill the term autonomy was too closely allied to Kant’s non-naturalistic views of freedom and reason, which he emphatically rejects.
Yet they disagree spectacularly about what makes some choosing autonomous, or more autonomous than other choosing, and other choosing less autonomous. A look at some current conceptions of individual autonomy that have been inﬂuential in bioethics and See the papers in John Christman, The Inner Citadel: Essays on Individual Autonomy, Oxford University Press, ; Ruth Faden and Thomas Beauchamp, A History and Theory of Informed Consent, Oxford University Press, , ; Douglas Husak, ‘Liberal Neutrality, Autonomy and Drug Prohibition’, Philosophy and Public Affairs, , , –, who asserts bluntly that ‘choice is valuable and worthy of respect when it is autonomous but not otherwise’, p.
Judgements of reliability are in any case often based on limited and inconclusive evidence. Well-publicised cases of untrustworthy action by professional and ofﬁce holders offer very incomplete reasons for judging all other professionals or ofﬁce holders, or even the same ones in a different situation, untrustworthy. In many cases the available evidence is sufﬁciently porous for agents to ﬁnd it reasonable either to place or to refuse trust – or to claim to mistrust while in practice placing trust.
Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (Gifford Lectures, 2001) by Onora O'Neill