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Self-Trust and Reproductive Autonomy
Philosophy Publications
  • Carolyn McLeod, Dalhousie University
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In this thesis. I give a theory of the nature of self-trust and an explanation of its role in autonomous decision-making. We tend to think of trust as essentially interpersonal which casts doubt on the coherence of the concept of self-trust. Drawing on patients' experiences in reproductive medicine. I argue that self-trust is a meaningful as well as a useful concept. I provide autobiographical sketches of a number of women's experiences. supplemented by my own observations made while doing a clinical practicum in reproductive medicine, to illustrate that what many women feel toward themselves in a variety of reproductive health care contexts is analogous to what we feel toward others when we trust and distrust them. I ground my theory of self-trust in an account of interpersonal trust, in which I draw on a number of theories of trust in ethics, especially those of Annette Baier and Karen Jones. The paradigm of trust in those theories is interpersonal, and I describe how self-trust and that paradigm are both alike and unlike one another in the following areas: what it is that we trust about ourselves/others when we are trusting, what kind of mental attitude trust is, and what constitute legitimate grounds for trusting. I use my theory of the nature of self-trust to understand the relation between autonomy and self-trust. I give a feminist analysis of that relation by showing how oppression can be a barrier to self-trust and hence, to autonomy. Lastly. I discuss the practical implications of the value of self-trust for the duty of health care providers to respect women's reproductive autonomy.

PhD dissertation at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
Dr. Carolyn McLeod is currently a faculty member at The University of Western Ontario.
Citation Information
Carolyn McLeod. "Self-Trust and Reproductive Autonomy" (1999)
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