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Temporal inabilities and decision-making capacity in depression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gareth Owen, Fabian Freyenhagen, Matthew Hotopf, Wayne Martin

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-182
Number of pages20
JournalPhenomenology & the Cognitive Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jun 2013
E-pub ahead of print13 Jun 2013
PublishedMar 2015


King's Authors


We report on an interview-based study of decision-making capacity in two classes of patients suffering from depression. Developing a method of second-person hermeneutic phenomenology, we articulate the distinctive combination of temporal agility and temporal inability characteristic of the experience of severely depressed patients. We argue that a cluster of decision-specific temporal abilities is a critical element of decision-making capacity, and we show that loss of these abilities is a risk factor distinguishing severely depressed patients from mildly/moderately depressed patients. We explore the legal and clinical consequences of this result.

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