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Ethics and Political Philosophy | Philosophy


This discussion aims to give a normative theoretical basis for a “best judgment” model of surrogate decision making rooted in a regulative ideal of love. Currently, there are two basic models of surrogate decision making for incompetent patients: the “substituted judgment” model and the “best interests” model. The former draws on the value of autonomy and responds with respect; the latter draws on the value of welfare and responds with beneficence. It can be difficult to determine which of these two models is more appropriate for a given patient, and both approaches may seem inadequate for a surrogate who loves the patient. The proposed “best judgment” model effectively draws on the values incorporated in each of the traditional standards, but does so because these values are important to someone who loves a patient, since love responds to the patient as the specific person she is.


NOTICE: this is the author’s post-print version of a work that was published in in The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work subsequent to this post-print. A definitive version was published as:

Erica Lucast Stonestreet. "Love as a Regulative Ideal in Surrogate Decision Making." The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39.5 (October 2014) 523-542.