Paternalism and Impairment

Social Theory and Practice 37 (3):434-460 (2011)
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Most opponents of paternalism agree that autonomy does not protect substantially impaired choices. Yet this common anti-paternalist view faces serious problems. First, I argue that it threatens to justify nearly all beneficial intervention, since all imprudent choices are impaired. Attempts to avoid this problem yield other implications that anti-paternalists would reject. Second, I argue that anti-paternalists have no convincing way of showing that impaired choices, such as those produced by emotional distress, are not protected by autonomy. In light of these problems, we should likely accept a hard paternalist view--one that permits intervention simply in virtue of the consequences.



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Jason Hanna
Northern Illinois University

Citations of this work

Relational Autonomy and the Social Dynamics of Paternalism.John Christman - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):369-382.
Paternalism by and towards groups.Kalle Grill - 2018 - In Kalle Grill & Jason Hanna (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism. Routledge. pp. 46-58.
Paternalism and the Ill-Informed Agent.Jason Hanna - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):421-439.
How Wrong is Paternalism?David Birks - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (2):136-163.

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