The system can't perform the operation now. Try again later. Citations per year. Duplicate citations. The following articles are merged in Scholar. Their combined citations are counted only for the first article.
|Country:||Republic of Macedonia|
|Published (Last):||26 February 2018|
|PDF File Size:||18.33 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||13.43 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Paternalism is the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will, and defended or motivated by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm. At the theoretical level it raises questions of how persons should be treated when they are less than fully rational.
The government requires people to contribute to a pension system Social Security. It requires motorcyclists to wear helmets. It forbids people from swimming at a public beach when lifeguards are not present. It forbids the sale of various drugs deemed to be ineffective. It forbids the sale of various drugs believed to be harmful.
It does not allow consent to certain forms of assault to be a defense against prosecution for that assault. The civil law does not allow the enforcement of certain kinds of contracts, e. It requires minors to have blood transfusions even if their religious beliefs forbid it. Persons may be civilly committed if they are a danger to themselves. Doctors do not tell their patients the truth about their medical condition. A physician may tell the wife of a man whose car went off a bridge into the water and drowned that he died instantly when in fact he died a rather ghastly death.
A husband may hide the sleeping pills from a depressed wife. A philosophy department may require a student to take logic courses. A teacher may be less than honest about telling a student that he has little philosophical ability. All of these rules, policies, and actions may be done for various reasons; may be justified by various considerations. When they are justified solely on the grounds that the person affected would be better off, or would be less harmed, as a result of the rule, policy, etc.
As the examples indicate the question of paternalism is one that arises in many different areas of our personal and public life. As such, it is an important realm of applied ethics. But it also raises certain theoretical issues. Perhaps the most important is: what powers it is legitimate for a state, operating both coercively and in terms of incentives, to possess? It also raises questions about the proper ways in which individuals, either in an institutional or purely personal setting, should relate to one another.
How should we think about individual autonomy and its limits? What is it to respect the personhood of others? What is the trade-off, if any, between regard for the welfare of another and respect for their right to make their own decisions?
This entry examines some of the conceptual issues involved in analyzing paternalism, and then discusses the normative issues concerning the legitimacy of paternalism by the state and various civil institutions. The analysis of paternalism involves at least the following elements. It involves some kind of limitation on the freedom or autonomy of some agent and it does so for a particular class of reasons.
As with many other concepts used in normative debate determining the exact boundaries of the concept is a contested issue. And as often is the case the first question is whether the concept itself is normative or descriptive. Is application of the concept a matter for empirical determination, so that if two people disagree about the application to a particular case they are disagreeing about some matter of fact or of definition?
Or does their disagreement reflect different views about the legitimacy of the application in question? While it is clear that for some to characterize a policy as paternalistic is to condemn or criticize it, that does not establish that the term itself is an evaluative one. As a matter of methodology it is preferable to see if some concept can be defined in non-normative terms and only if that fails to capture the relevant phenomena to accept a normative definition.
I suggest the following conditions as an analysis of X acts paternalistically towards Y by doing omitting Z :. Condition one is the trickiest to capture. Clear cases include threatening bodily compulsion, lying, withholding information that the person has a right to have, or imposing requirements or conditions.
But what about the following case? A father, skeptical about the financial acumen of a child, instead of bequeathing the money directly, gives it to another child with instructions to use it in the best interests of the first child. The first child has no legal claim on the inheritance. Or consider the case of a wife who hides her sleeping pills so that her potentially suicidal husband cannot use them. Her act may satisfy the second and third conditions but what about the first?
Does her action limit the liberty or autonomy of her husband? The second condition is supposed to be read as distinct from acting against the consent of an agent. The agent may neither consent nor not consent. He may, for example, be unaware of what is being done to him. There is also the distinct issue of whether one acts not knowing about the consent of the person in question. Perhaps the person in fact consents but this is not known to the paternaliser.
The third condition also can be complicated. There may be more than one reason for interfering with Y. Or what about the case where a legislature passes a legal rule for paternalistic reasons but there are sufficient non-paternalistic reasons to justify passage of the rule? If, in order to decide on any of the above issues, one must decide a normative issue, e. Ultimately the question of how to refine the conditions, and what conditions to use, is a matter for philosophical judgment. One should decide upon an analysis based on a hypothesis of what will be most useful for thinking about a particular range of problems.
One might adopt one analysis in the context of doctors and patients and another in the context of whether the state should ban unhealthy foods. Given some particular analysis of paternalism there will be various normative views about when paternalism is justified.
The following terminology is useful. Soft paternalism is the view that the only conditions under which state paternalism is justified is when it is necessary to determine whether the person being interfered with is acting voluntarily and knowledgeably. If he knows, and wants to, say, commit suicide he must be allowed to proceed.
A hard paternalist says that, at least sometimes, it may be permissible to prevent him from crossing the bridge even if he knows of its condition. We are entitled to prevent voluntary suicide. A narrow paternalist is only concerned with the question of state coercion, i. A broad paternalist is concerned with any paternalistic action: state, institutional hospital policy , or individual.
A weak paternalist believes that it is legitimate to interfere with the means that agents choose to achieve their ends, if those means are likely to defeat those ends. So if a person really prefers safety to convenience then it is legitimate to force them to wear seatbelts. A strong paternalist believes that people may have mistaken, confused or irrational ends and it is legitimate to interfere to prevent them from achieving those ends.
If a person really prefers the wind rustling through their hair to increased safety it is legitimate to make them wear helmets while motorcycling because their ends are irrational or mistaken. If one is a weak but not a strong paternalist we may only interfere with mistakes about the facts not with mistakes about values. So if a person tries to jump out of a window believing he will float gently to the ground we may restrain him.
If he jumps because he believes that it is important to be spontaneous we may not. Suppose we prevent persons from manufacturing cigarettes because we believe they are harmful to consumers.
The group we are trying to protect is the group of consumers not manufacturers who may not be smokers at all. Our reason for interfering with the manufacturer is that he is causing harm to others. Nevertheless the basic justification is paternalist because the consumer consents assuming the relevant information is available to him to the harm. It is not like the case where we prevent manufacturers from polluting the air. In pure paternalism the class being protected is identical with the class being interfered with, e.
In the case of impure paternalism the class of persons interfered with is larger than the class being protected. The usual justification for paternalism refers to the interests of the person being interfered with. It is things like death or misery or painful emotional states which are in question. Sometimes, however, advocates of state intervention seek to protect the moral welfare of the person. So, for example, it may be argued that prostitutes are better off being prevented from plying their trade even if they make a decent living and their health is protected against disease.
The interference is justified, therefore, to promote the moral well-being of the person. This then can be called moral paternalism. Finally, it is important to distinguish paternalism, whether welfare or moral, from other ideas used to justify interference with persons; even cases where the interference is not justified in terms of protecting or promoting the interests of others.
In particular moral paternalism should be distinguished from legal moralism, i. Not because the dwarf is injured in any way, not because the dwarf corrupts himself by agreeing to participate in such activities, but simply because the activity is wrong. To be sure it is not always easy to distinguish between legal moralism and moral paternalism.
If one believes, as Plato does, that acting wrongly damages the soul of the agent, then it will be possible to invoke moral paternalism rather than legal moralism. Is there a burden of proof attached to paternalism?
Does the paternalist or anti-paternalist have to give a reason for their action? As we have seen the analysis of paternalism seems to cut both ways. It is an interference with liberty which might be thought to place the burden of proof on the paternalist.
It is an act intended to produce good for the agent which might be thought to place the burden of proof on those who object to paternalism. It might be thought, as Mill did, that the burden of proof is different depending on who is being treated paternalistically. If it is a child then the assumption is that, other things being equal, the burden of proof is on those who resist paternalism.
If it is an adult of sound mind the presumption is reversed. Suppose we start from the presumption that paternalism is wrong. The question becomes under what, if any, circumstances, can the presumption be overcome?
Course Reading Lists
Sign in Create an account. Syntax Advanced Search. About us. Editorial team.
Please log in to set a read status. Setting a reading intention helps you organise your reading. You can filter on reading intentions from the list , as well as view them within your profile. Setting up reading intentions help you organise your course reading.