Reframing patient-doctor relationships: relational autonomy and treating autonomy as a virtue

Elaina Gauthier-Mamaril

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Abstract / Description of output

Despite extensive theoretical debate, concrete efforts to overcome paternalism and unbalanced power relations between patients and doctors have produced limited results. In this article, I examine and build on the concept of relational autonomy to reframe the patient-doctor relationship. Specifically, I argue for an alternate form of autonomy anchored in Spinozism that recognises the relation between rationality and affectivity and moves away from the model of Cartesian dualism. I then use Filipino conceptions of individuality to explore treating autonomy as a systemic virtue, where ‘virtue’ is understood as a strength that requires support from systems of agency. In other words, autonomy as a systemic virtue is a practice of focusing on one’s power of acting that is sustained by supportive relationships between individuals and social institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2022


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  • A Crip Reading of Filipino Philosophy

    Gauthier-Mamaril, E., 14 Dec 2023, Bloomsbury Guide to Philosophy of Disability. Tremain, S. L. (ed.). Bloomsbury Academic, p. 383-396 13 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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