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EDITORIAL

We Convey More Than We (Literally) Say
Jason N. Batten, Bonnie O. Wong, William F. Hanks & David Magnus

This issue of the American Journal of Bioethics features a target article by Blumenthal-Barby and Ubel that focuses on patients who are unrealistically optimistic, in denial, or self-deceived. In his excellent commentary, Weinfurt points us toward a particular branch of communication theory—pragmatics—as a fruitful way of evaluating statements made by these patients. He and several other bio...

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Target Article

In Defense of “Denial”: Difficulty Knowing When Beliefs Are Unrealistic and Whether Unrealistic Beliefs Are Bad
J. S. Blumenthal-Barby & Peter A. Ubel

Bioethicists often draw sharp distinctions between hope and states like denial, self-deception, and unrealistic optimism. But what, exactly, is the difference between hope and its more suspect cousins? One common way of drawing the distinction focuses on accuracy of belief about the desired outcome: Hope, though perhaps sometimes misplaced, does not involve inaccuracy in the way that these other s...

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The Ethics of Smart Pills and Self-Acting Devices: Autonomy, Truth-Telling, and Trust at the Dawn of Digital Medicine
Craig M. Klugman, Laura B. Dunn, Jack Schwartz & I. Glenn Cohen

Digital medicine is a medical treatment that combines technology with drug delivery. The promises of this combination are continuous and remote monitoring, better disease management, self-tracking, self-management of diseases, and improved treatment adherence. These devices pose ethical challenges for patients, providers, and the social practice of medicine. For patients, having both informed cons...

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