QuestionQuestion

Write an essay in response to the following:

Instructions:
- Write a 6-7 page paper (double-spaced, regular margins and font) on the following topic.
- Your paper should have a title-page, bibliography and proper references.
- Follow MLA or Chicago Manual of Style formatting.
- This is an argumentative paper; thus, your paper should have a clear statement of your thesis and of the arguments given in support of your thesis. There will be a late penalty of 5% deducted per day.

Benjamin Freedman argues that the notion of valid consent – e.g. to receive medical treatment or to be a subject of medical experimentation – be defined in terms of the notions of responsibility and voluntarily, rather than that of being well informed. State and explain his position and the main arguments he gives in support of it.

Note: Papers may be written with the aid of secondary sources, but these, along with the original sources, must be properly referenced in the bibliography of the paper. Sources of quotations, and paraphrases must be referenced by footnotes or endnotes. In general, be sure to give credit to any ideas or arguments borrowed from other sources.   

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There are two threads to Freedman’s main argument for the conclusion that valid consent should be defined in terms of responsibility and voluntariness rather than that of being well-informed – a negative argument and a positive one. The negative one consists in explicating why “informing of the patient/subject is not a fundamental requirement of valid consent” ; the positive one consists in Freedman arguing that the more fundamental determinants of a choice to give valid consent are that the choice be responsible and voluntary. My discussion will focus on Freedman’s positive account – I first present his arguments in some detail, and then I present a critique of key parts of those arguments. As shall be seen, I argue for the position that there are, I think, fatal problems with Freedman’s justifications for each of his two stipulations for choice in valid consent, responsibility and voluntariness.

Responsibility and Voluntariness
Freedman begins his argument for the necessity of the choice to consent being a responsible one via illustration. A child can make choices and, in doing so, is often quite capable of taking in and processing various factors and information at play. However, “we would not want to say that a small child can give valid consent to a serious medical procedure” – why? Because, according to Freedman, such a choice would not be one chosen “responsibly”. But what does “responsibly” mean, what does it entail? In answering this question...
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