Personhood, patienthood, and clinical practice: Reassessing advance directives

Ben A Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This article considers 2 major critiques of advance directives and offers a defense to each of them. The 1st critique is philosophical in nature and maintains that the moral authority of an advance directive is undercut by a failure of personal identity to survive the loss of decisional capacity. The response in this article is that this critique relies on a flawed and disfavored concept of persons and their persistence over time. The 2nd critique, pragmatic in nature, argues that advance directives cannot be authoritative because the requisite elements of an informed consent to or refusal of treatment are rarely present, and many such instruments are ambiguous. The author argues that if the creation of advance directives, as a form of advance care planning, is made an integral aspect of clinical practice, many more patients will elect to execute directives, and those directives will not be ambiguous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-628
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Personhood, patienthood, and clinical practice: Reassessing advance directives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this