Cost-Benefit Analysis, Monetary Value, and Medical Decision

  • Robert Audi
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 21)


Medical decisions commonly have economic as well as moral importance. This holds whether they are about an individual or represent determinations of social policy. The moral issues surrounding medical decisions are complex and controversial, and in the past two decades they have been studied at great length by philosophers and others. The economic ramifications of these issues are also problematic and contentious, though on one thing there is wide agreement and some alarm: medical costs have been substantially increasing. The economic aspects of medical decisions raise a number of questions, and the pressures of rising costs, among other factors, have brought some of these questions to great prominence in philosophical discussions. Some of this discussion explores the applications of cost-benefit analysis to medical decisions. That cost-benefit analysis might be applied here is not surprising, given its apparent value in economics. There are, however, other reasons for its appeal. One major factor is the support such analysis apparently receives from decision-theoretic models as strategies for problem solving and rational choice. Another factor is the possibility of using data gained by cost-benefit analysis to ascertain individuals’ values and thereby reflect them in medical decisions about those individuals.


Rational Choice Medical Decision Prima Facie Tacit Consent Moral Criterion 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Audi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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