Paternalism by and towards groups

In Kalle Grill & Jason Hanna (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism. New York: Routledge. pp. 46-58 (2018)
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In many or most instances of paternalism, more than one person acts paternalistically, or more than one person is treated paternalistically. This chapter discusses some complications that arise in such group cases, which are largely ignored in the conceptual debate. First, a group of people who together perform an action may do so for different reasons, which makes it more challenging to determine whether the action is paternalistic. This gives us some reason not to pin the property of being paternalistic on actions, since we may alternatively pin it on reasons for actions and allow that these differ between members in the group. Second, the prevention of harmful consensual interactions is sometimes paternalism towards both or all involved, but only if all benefit from interference with themselves rather than with other members in the group, or if all want the harm or risk (more or less) for its own sake. Third, interrelations between three components of paternalism - interference, benevolence and consent - gives us reason to allow that an action can be paternalistic towards some but not others of those affected. This makes it even more difficult, and less relevant, to determine whether or not actions are paternalistic.



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Kalle Grill
Umeå University

References found in this work

Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.
Patterns of Moral Complexity.Charles E. Larmore - 1987 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist.
The moral limits of the criminal law.Joel Feinberg - 1984 - New York,USA: Oxford University Press.

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