Autonomy in biomedical research and medicine is a key ethical principle that should be considered by patients, participants of studies, and medical workers. This is important because, in some cases, individuals have less autonomy that needs an in-depth examination. Respect for an individual’s freedom requires one to accept the right of people to have personal beliefs or views. This paper aims to summarize Chapter 4 and discuss the issues reviewed in it.
Chapter 4 of the book Principles of Biomedical Ethics is titled “Respect for Autonomy.” The initial idea of this section is that each has a right to make independent decisions, which is the primary moral rule. Beauchamp and Childress argue that this principle, although it is not the most important within the context of the moral norms, has a significant meaning for biomedical ethics (102). Liberty and agency are considered to be the two vital components of this ethical concept.
The layout of the chapter includes an examination of biomedical principles that relate to the decision-making of both patients and medical employees. Next, the capacity of autonomous choice and informed consent are examined. Beauchamp and Childress state that the word autonomy refers to self-rule according to which a person can make decisions without limitations created by others (105). Also, the concepts of autonomous choice and autonomous person are explained in this chapter.
Although it is acknowledged that this moral principle is important and providing all necessary information for adequate decision-making is crucial, the authors point out that no clear interpretation of the matter currently exists. Overall, Chapter 4 reflects on the topic of autonomy in the context of biomedical ethics. In biomedical research, it is crucial to inform individuals of all aspects of an experiment or procedure to obtain informed consent.
Beauchamp, Tom, and James Childress. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 7th ed., Oxford University Press, 2013.