Liberty, beneficence, and involuntary confinement

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (3):261-294 (1984)
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My purpose in this paper is to show that current legal criteria for paternalistic involuntary psychiatric confinement of the mentally ill are both too narrow and too broad. I do this by first developing a principle of justified paternalistic interference with adults, which I take to be acceptably protective of individual liberty, but which does not require unnecessary sacrifices of individual welfare. After offering an analysis of current legal criteria for involuntary confinement, 1 argue that an acceptable theory of paternalistic interference reveals that those criteria (1) exclude some cases where confinement would be morally permissible, and (2) allow paternalistic confinement of many whose detention is not morally justifiable. Keywords: paternalism, incompetence, involuntary civil confinement, liberty, beneficence, harm CiteULike Connotea What's this?



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Joan C. Callahan
Last affiliation: University of Kentucky

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