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Vol. 5. Issue 1.
Pages 50-65 (January - June 2019)
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Vol. 5. Issue 1.
Pages 50-65 (January - June 2019)
Original article
DOI: 10.1016/j.bioet.2018.12.001
Re-thinking relational autonomy: Challenging the triumph of autonomy through vulnerability
Re-pensar la autonomía relacional: desafiando el triunfo de la autonomía a través de la vulnerabilidad
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Janet Delgado
University Institute of Woman's Studies, University of La Laguna, Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative, Emory University, Gambrell Hall, 1301 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
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Abstract

Relational autonomy is a key concept in challenging the “triumph of the principle of autonomy” in bioethics. Considering the inextricable relationship between the concept of vulnerability and relational autonomy, it can be seen that autonomy and vulnerability are not incompatible. Because vulnerability is an unavoidable human condition, only through the network of relationships in which we are embedded is it possible to develop a capacity towards autonomy, understanding it through relationships. While there is a vast literature in bioethics about the term of relational autonomy, there is a lack of clarification, or systematization on the definition of the main characteristics of this term. Through the connection with a universal vulnerability concept, the aim of this paper is to develop the main characteristics of the term relational autonomy. Including the notion of vulnerability, relational autonomy can be understood as a capacity to make decisions, not as an individual, self-sufficient person, but as an individual being embedded in social relationships. A description is presented of five features of relational autonomy: relationships, capacity for decision making as a process, progression along the life course, professional commitment, and collectivity.

Keywords:
Relational autonomy
Vulnerability
Healthcare
Bioethics
Decision-making
Resumen

La autonomía relacional es un concepto clave a la hora de desafiar el “triunfo del principio de autonomía” en bioética. Considerando la inextricable relación que se da entre el concepto de vulnerabilidad y autonomía relacional, podemos darnos cuenta de que autonomía y vulnerabilidad no son incompatibles. Debido a que la vulnerabilidad es una condición humana inevitable, es solo a través de la red de relaciones con los demás en las que estamos insertos donde es posible desarrollar la capacidad de autonomía, entendiéndola relacionalmente. Mientras que existe una amplia literatura en bioética sobre el término autonomía relacional, a la vez se da una falta de clarificación o sistematización en la definición y en la definición de las principales características del término. Mediante la conexión con el concepto universal de vulnerabilidad, el objetivo de este artículo consiste en desarrollar cuáles son las principales características que contiene el término de autonomía relacional. Incluyendo la noción de vulnerabilidad, la autonomía relacional puede ser entendida como la capacidad de tomar decisiones, no como individuos autosuficientes, sino como seres insertos en relaciones sociales. Describo cinco características de la autonomía relacional: relaciones, capacidad de tomas decisiones como un proceso, progresión a lo largo del curso de la vida, compromiso profesional y colectividad.

Palabras clave:
Autonomía relacional
Vulnerabilidad
Cuidado de la salud
Bioética
Toma de decisiones

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