The Gettier Problem in Informed Consent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The duty to procure informed consent (IC) from patients before any significant intervention is among the pillars of medical and research ethics. The provision by the doctor of relevant information about treatment and free decision-making by the patient are essential elements of IC. The paper presents cases of IC where the free decision about treatment is not causally related to the information provided, and claims that such cases pose a difficulty parallel to that presented by the Gettier Problem in epistemology. In analogy to the original problem with the concept of knowledge, these Gettier-type cases show an indeterminacy in the concept of IC: we either need to add some explicit additional condition of causal connection between information and consent, or else we should understand the concept in a new way-specifically, since the practice of autonomy necessarily involves some consideration of the relevant information, we must understand free consent in a way that no longer refers to patient autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-645
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'The Gettier Problem in Informed Consent'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this