Personal autonomy in mental disorders
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Issues of personal autonomy and decisional capacity arise routinely in the practice of clinical psychiatry. Extant legal codes in England and Wales specify the conditions under which mental patients can be considered as lacking the capacity to make a particular decision about treatment (Mental Capacity Act, 2005) or are susceptible to be detained and undergo treatment for their own health or safety, or the safety of others (Mental Health Act, 2007). It is generally agreed that severe mental disorders, such as psychotic and cognitive disorders, often undermine patients’ decisional capacity and autonomy. This fact presents several challenges to contemporary ethical theory whereby personal autonomy as self-determination is considered to be a basic human moral right. This fine book, carefully edited and introduced by Lubomira Radoilska, addresses many of these philosophical challenges.
The book is divided in three parts. Part One (“Mapping the conceptual landscape”) deals with general...