Surrogate Decision Making and Intellectual Virtue

Gregory L. Bock

The Journal of Clinical Ethics 25, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 291-95.



      Patients can be harmed by a religiously motivated surrogate decision maker whose decisions are contrary to the standard of care; therefore, surrogate decision making should be held to a high standard. Stewart Eskew and Christopher Meyers proposed a two-part rule for deciding which religiously based decisions to honor: (1) a secular reason condition and (2) a rationality condition. The second condition is based on a coherence theory of rationality, which they claim is accessible, generous, and culturally sensitive. In this article, I will propose strengthening the rationality condition by grounding it in a theory of intellectual virtue, which is both rigorous and culturally sensitive.

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