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Understanding Eating DisordersConceptual and Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa$
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Simona Giordano

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269747

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199269742.001.0001

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Autonomy and Control in Eating Disorders

Autonomy and Control in Eating Disorders

Chapter:
(p.211) 12 Autonomy and Control in Eating Disorders
Source:
Understanding Eating Disorders
Author(s):

Simona Giordano (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199269742.003.0013

This chapter considers whether eating disordered behaviour is autonomous. This would have important ethical implications, as there is a prima facie ethical obligation to respect autonomous behaviour. It shows that eating disordered behaviour seems undermined by some defects in autonomy, such as defects in perception of hunger and satiety, defects in the ability to apply knowledge about food to self, false beliefs relating, for example, to food and its assimilation. These defects in autonomy seem to provide a prima facie justification for paternalism. However, this chapter shows that some elements specific to eating disorders weaken the strength of paternalism. Although there seem to be defects in autonomy, these do not provide clear justification for paternalism towards people with eating disordered.

Keywords:   autonomy, self control, self-perception, eating disorders, beliefs, paternalism

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