Relational Autonomy and the Social Dynamics of Paternalism

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):369-382 (2014)
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In this paper I look at various ways that interpersonal and social relations can be seen as required for autonomy. I then consider cases where those dynamics might play out or not in potentially paternalistic situations. In particular, I consider cases of especially vulnerable persons who are attempting to reconstruct a sense of practical identity required for their autonomy and need the potential paternalist’s aid in doing so. I then draw out the implications for standard liberal principles of paternalism, specifically in clinical or therapeutic situations. The picture of potential paternalism that emerges here is much more of a dynamic, interpersonal scenario rather than a case of two separate individuals making decisions independent of each other



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John Christman
Pennsylvania State University

References found in this work

Sources of the self: the making of the modern identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.
Autonomous Agents: From Self Control to Autonomy.Alfred R. Mele - 1995 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.

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