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J Med Philos. 1997 Jun;22(3):271-89.

The best-interests standard as threshold, ideal, and standard of reasonableness.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Humanities, East Carolina University, School of Medicine, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.

Abstract

The best-interests standard is a widely used ethical, legal, and social basis for policy and decision-making involving children and other incompetent persons. It is under attack, however, as self-defeating, individualistic, unknowable, vague, dangerous, and open to abuse. The author defends this standard by identifying its employment, first, as a threshold for intervention and judgment (as in child abuse and neglect rulings), second, as an ideal to establish policies or prima facie duties, and, third, as a standard of reasonableness. Criticisms of the best-interests standard are reconsidered after clarifying these different meanings.

PMID:
9232512
DOI:
10.1093/jmp/22.3.271
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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