Why It's Time to Stop Worrying About Paternalism in Health Policy

Public Health Ethics 4 (3):269-279 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Public health policies which involve active intervention to improve the health of the population are often criticized as paternalistic. This article argues that it is a mistake to frame our discussions of public health policies in terms of paternalism. First, it is deeply problematic to pick out which policies should count as paternalistic; at best, we can talk about paternalistic justifications for policies. Second, two of the elements that make paternalism problematic at an individual level—interference with liberty and lack of individual consent—are endemic to public policy contexts in general and so cannot be used to support the claim that paternalism in particular is wrong. Instead of debating whether a given policy is paternalistic, we should ask whether the infringements of liberty it contains are justifiable, without placing any weight on whether or not those infringements of liberty are paternalistic. Once we do so, it becomes apparent that a wide range of interventionist public health policies are justifiable

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,140

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Public health paternalism—a response to Nys.Stephen Holland - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (3):285-293.
Disadvantage, Social Justice and Paternalism.A. M. Viens - 2013 - Public Health Ethics 6 (1):28-34.
Paternalism.Kalle Grill - 2011 - In Ruth Chadwick (ed.), Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. Academic Press.
Public health paternalism: Continuing the dialogue.Thomas Nys - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (3):294-298.
Choosing Health and the inner citadel.P. Allmark - 2006 - Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (1):3-6.
Liberalism, altruism and group consent.Kalle Grill - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (2):146-157.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-10-18

Downloads
69 (#175,679)

6 months
2 (#297,033)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

James Wilson
University College London

References found in this work

Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly.Norman Daniels - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics.Onora O'Neill - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
The morality of freedom.J. Raz - 1988 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (1):108-109.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.

View all 18 references / Add more references