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“Please Don’t Tell Me”: The Right Not to Know


Knowledge is generally a good thing. People who know lots of bits of information are generally admired. Some of them win prizes in TV competitions. If you were offered the gift of having an entire encyclopedia wired into your brain, you would probably accept, without thinking. But we should be wary of assuming that all knowledge is good. Too much knowledge can inhibit rather than enable thought.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R Andorno . The right not to know: An autonomy based approach. Journal of Medical Ethics 2004;30:435–9.

J. Wilson To know or not to know? Genetic ignorance, autonomy and paternalism. Bioethics 2005;19:492–504.

S. Sperling Knowledge rites and the right not to know. PoLAR 2007;269–85

J Harris , K. Keywood Ignorance, information and autonomy. Theoretical Medicine 2001;22:415–36.

R. Rhodes Genetic links, family ties and social bonds: Rights and responsibilities in the face of genetic knowledge. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 1998;23:10–30, at 18.

J. Raikkia Freedom and a right (not) to know. Bioethics 1998;12:49–63.

E Asscher , B-J. Koops Genetic diagnosis for Huntington’s disease: The right not to know and pre-implantation genetic testing. Journal of Medical Ethics 2010;36:30–3.

R. Gilbar Communicating genetic information in the family: The familial relationship as the forgotten factor. Journal of Medical Ethics 2007;33:390–3.

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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