Public Health Ethics 9 (1):46-54 (2016)

Authors
Tom Walker
Queen's University, Belfast
Abstract
It is relatively uncontroversial that some public health policies are paternalistic. Furthermore, that they are paternalistic is often taken to show that they are morally wrong. In this article I challenge this position. The article starts by arguing that given standard definitions of paternalism it is unclear why such policies count as paternalistic. Whilst it might appear that they impose restrictions on what individuals can, or cannot, do for their own good, this is not the case. The reason for this is that whilst public health policies focus on achieving benefits at a population or group level, the imposition is made at the level of the individual. If we are to retain the idea that such policies are paternalistic we must characterize them in such a way that both the benefit and imposition are at the same level: either that of the individual or that of the group. I argue that in many cases moving to the group level is the only plausible option. However, if we move to the group level, the features that make a policy paternalistic will not, unlike in those cases where paternalism is targeted at an individual, make the policy morally wrong
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/phe/phv019
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,177
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

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Justice for Hedgehogs.Ronald Dworkin - 2011 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Theory and Practice of Autonomy.Gerald Dworkin - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
Shaping the Normative Landscape.David Owens - 2012 - Oxford University Press.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Public Bioethics.Jessica Flanigan - 2013 - Public Health Ethics 6 (2):170-184.
Paternalism and Public Policy.Bill New - 1999 - Economics and Philosophy 15 (1):63.
The Limits of Medical Paternalism.Paula Boddington & Heta Hayry - 1993 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (171):263.
A Trust-Based Argument Against Paternalism.Simon R. Clarke - 2013 - In Pekka Makela & Cynthia Townley (eds.), Trust: Analytic and Applied Persectives. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi. pp. 53-75.
Liberalism, Altruism and Group Consent.Kalle Grill - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (2):146-157.
Public Health Paternalism—a Response to Nys.Stephen Holland - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (3):285-293.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-07-16

Total views
23 ( #490,330 of 2,499,401 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #418,166 of 2,499,401 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes