Summary: The Importance Of Autonomy

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Having someone else make the decisions for me for the rest of my life, in my opinion, is not acceptable because it eliminates my autonomy. In the book, autonomy is defined as “the power to guide our life through our own free choices” (Landau, 2015, p. 37). Autonomy means being able to decide for yourself such as choosing what major to take in college, who to be friends with, and what to eat for lunch. Even if the person knows me very well that the decisions are guaranteed to make me happier in the long term, having autonomy is important because it gives us the “opportunity to take chances, risk happiness, and to exercise real freedom” (Landau, 2015, p. 38). This is the reason why paternalism continues to receive various criticisms. Paternalism …show more content…

The theory of hedonism holds that “a life is good to the extent that it is filled with pleasure and is free of pain” (Landau, 2015, p.24). On this view, the only thing that makes life good is happiness. However, contrary to the idea of hedonism, autonomy is also important to have a good life. Being able to make personal decisions is important whether the consequences would lead to happiness or unhappiness (Landau, 2015, p. 39). In the article “Supporting Patient Autonomy: The Importance of Clinician-patient Relationships,” the author provides an example of the importance of autonomy as related to the health care system. He states that, “A principle of respect for autonomy is also invoked in discussions about confidentiality, fidelity, privacy and truth-telling, but is most strongly associated with the idea that patients should be allowed or enabled to make autonomous decisions about their health care” (Entwistle, Carter, & McCaffery, 2010, Prevailing Ideas section, para. 1). Just as expressed by the quotation, it is more important to know that having a terminal illness and being unhappy than being lied to by medical professionals to remain happy. It disproves the hedonist claim that “there is only a single thing that is intrinsically valuable: happiness. Everything else is valuable only to the extent that it makes us happy. Likewise ... unhappiness is the only thing that directly reduces our quality of life” (Landau, 2015, p.

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