Seat Belt Mandates and Paternalism

Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (3):291-314 (2017)
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Abstract

_ Source: _Page Count 24 Seat belt mandates seem like a paradigmatic case of justified paternalism. Even those who generally object to paternalism often concede that seat belt laws are justified. Against this near-consensus in favor of mandates, I argue that seat belt laws are unjust and public officials should not enforce them. The most plausible exceptions to a principle of anti-paternalism do not justify seat belt mandates. Some argue that seat belt mandates are not paternalistic because unbelted riders are not fully autonomous. Others claim that the decision to ride unbelted harms other people. Yet these attempts to defend seat belt mandates on non-paternalistic grounds cannot overcome the case against seat belt mandates. I therefore conclude that _even_ seat belt mandates are unjust. With this comprehensive case against seat belt mandates, I demonstrate the more general difficulties in justifying any form of coercive paternalism.

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Jessica Flanigan
University of Richmond

References found in this work

What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist.
The Right to Privacy.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (4):295-314.
Immigration, Jurisdiction, and Exclusion.Michael Blake - 2013 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (2):103-130.

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