Against Two Modest Conceptions of Hard Paternalism

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):409-422 (2013)
People in our liberal pluralistic society have conflicting intuitions about the legitimacy of coercive hard paternalism, though respect for agency provides a common source of objection to it. The hard paternalist must give adequate reasons for her coercion which are acceptable to a free and equal agent. Coercion that fails to meet with an agent’s reasonable evaluative commitments is at least problematic and risks being authoritarian. Even if the coercer claims no normative authority over the coercee, the former still uses coercion to replace the latter’s reasons or will with his own reasons or will. But does every hard paternalistic view have to invite such objection? Throughout I will assume that defenders of what I will call “Neutral Paternalism” (NP) and “Commonsense Paternalism” (CP) aim to offer reasons for coercion all can reasonably endorse despite evaluative diversity, in opposition to more objectionable forms of coercive paternalism, such as those which defend it on religious or perfectionist grounds. I will argue, nonetheless, that Gerald Dworkin’s defense of NP and Danny Scoccia’s defense of CP succumb to the same problems of objectionable imposition that saddle other forms of coercive paternalism. The shortcomings in their views suggest that even modest hard paternalism is nonetheless problematic for liberals
Keywords Paternalism  Liberalism  Neutrality  Self-determination  Gerald Dworkin  Gerald Gaus
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9339-6
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 20,048
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Robert S. Taylor (2004). A Kantian Defense of Self-Ownership. Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (1):65-78.
Danny Scoccia (2008). In Defense of Hard Paternalism. Law and Philosophy 27 (4):351 - 381.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Simon Clarke (2002). A Definition of Paternalism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (1):81-91.
Danny Scoccia (2008). In Defense of Hard Paternalism. Law and Philosophy 27 (4):351 - 381.
Marion Smiley (1989). Paternalism and Democracy. Journal of Value Inquiry 23 (4):299-318.
David Crossley (1999). Paternalism and Corporate Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 21 (4):291 - 302.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

75 ( #55,018 of 1,793,280 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #101,521 of 1,793,280 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.