Volume 1, 2021
Supported Decision-making: The CRPD, Non-Discrimination, and Strategies for Recognizing Persons’ Choices About their Good
People with cognitive impairments often have difficulties formulating, understanding, or articulating decisions that others judge reasonable. The frequent response shifts decision-making authority to substitutes through advance directives of the person or guardianship orders from a court. The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities defends supported decision-making as an alternative to such forms of supplanted decision-making. But supported decision-making raises both metaphysical questions—what is required for a decision to be the person’s own?—and epistemological questions: how do we know what persons judge to be their good, when they have difficulty conceptualizing and articulating? It raises practical questions, too, such as protection against risks of exploitation. This article uses a non-discrimination account of legal personhood drawn from the CRPD to explore how common features of decisions employed by people without cognitive disabilities are important in supported decision-making too. These features include prostheses, guardrails, relationships, and social contexts.