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Title: Respect for Autonomy and Authenticity
Subtitle: The Pastor's Responsiveness to the Person of the Pastoree
Author(s): TIMMERMAN, Guus
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 17    Issue: 2   Date: 2010   
Pages: 309-341
DOI: 10.2143/EP.17.2.2049268

Abstract :
Respect for personal autonomy and authenticity is a very important principle in late modern political and applied ethics. In the context of medicine and nursing, for example, a great deal of ethical research is devoted to this principle, both theoretical and empirical, raising many hotly debated questions, both conceptual – on the concepts of autonomy and authenticity – practical – on the application of the principle of respect for autonomy and authenticity – and methodological – on using empirical methods in ethical research. In the present contribution I present two of the results of my doctoral research concerning personal autonomy and authenticity in the practice of personal pastoral care, using empirical methods. The first consists of a formulation of the goals of pastoral care as they were found in the cases analysed, the second of the different forms of personal autonomy and authenticity that were identified. Our primary aim is to argue for the importance of a) conducting empirical research into what is actually morally relevant and not just at the surface, and of b) assigning a privileged position in empirical ethical research to practices and the tacit knowing of advanced, reflective practitioners. Abstract concepts of personal autonomy and authenticity and of pastoral care are challenged.

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