A Normatively Neutral Definition of Paternalism

Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258):1-21 (2015)

Authors
Emma Bullock
Central European University
Abstract
In this paper, I argue that a definition of paternalism must meet certain methodological constraints. Given the failings of descriptivist and normatively charged definitions of paternalism, I argue that we have good reason to pursue a normatively neutral definition. Archard's 1990 definition is one such account. It is for this reason that I return to Archard's account with a critical eye. I argue that Archard's account is extensionally inadequate, failing to capture some cases which are clear instances of paternalism. I refine each of his three conditions, ultimately providing an improved definition of paternalistic interference. This revised definition meets specific methodological constraints, offering a definition that is both neutral between anti- and pro-paternalistic intuitions, but that also explains why paternalism is normatively significant. Specifically, this definition captures the conflict between interfering with an individual's choices and treating the individual benevolently, without making paternalism permissible or impermissible by definition.
Keywords Paternalism
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1093/pq/pqu056
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Citations of this work BETA

II—What’s Wrong with Paternalism: Autonomy, Belief, and Action.David Enoch - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (1):21-48.
Mandatory Disclosure and Medical Paternalism.Emma C. Bullock - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):409-424.
Paternalism and Factitious Disorder: Medical Treatment in Illness Deception.Anthony Fry & Tania L. Gergel - 2016 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 22 (4):565-574.
In Defense of Journalistic Paternalism.Ryan J. Thomas - 2016 - Journal of Media Ethics 31 (2):86-99.

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