Volume 5, 2008
Bioethics and Medical Ethics
The Ethical Action Principle in Decision-Making
From the Principle of Autonomy to the Principle of Consensus
Decision-making adhering to the “principle of autonomy" takes place within the wider context of decision-making processes in modern society. Within the medical area, as regards the decision through informed consent, the patient's intention assumes vital importance. The principle of autonomy is derived from the modern thought that the essence of human being is the reason. It becomes difficult, however, to rely on decision-making based on the principle of autonomy when a person’s intention is not clear and the opinions of those who are involved differ from each other. Here, I think that the principle of consensus, which seeks the agreement of those who are concerned, becomes as important as the principle of autonomy. This paper examines the problems of certainty, reliability, and
creativity of medical action through the consideration of the principle of consensus.