Gerald Dworkin, professor of philosophy at the University of California-Davis, examines John What is the difference between “pure” and “impure” paternalism?. Outline of Dworkin on Paternalism (in James White text). Paternalism = limitations on personal freedom or choice, done to benefit the person. GERALD DWORKIN. MORAL PATERNALISM. (Accepted 9 February ) is a distinction being drawn between a man’s physical good and his moral good?.
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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. There are paternlism concepts all of them vague. Imagine 3 solid pieces of stone. You pick them up, fit them together and now find they make a ball. Now consider you have 3 balls ofor lumps of soft mud or putty–formless.
Now you put them together and mold out of them a ball. Rawls, Theory of Justicee Any definition of a concept is subject to various criteria for a good definition in the context at hand.
Unless we are paernalism stipulating how we shall be using the word—and even then questions will arise about why we picked that word to use for this stipulation—there will be some, usually implicit, ideas of what makes for a good definition.
In addition to trivial ones- —such as consistency—there will be a set of problems that the definition will used to clarify or, if possible, resolve. There will be a set of constraints—weak or strong—about how the word is currently being used. There will be a context—perhaps one of personal ethics or perhaps one of current law—in which the concept finds a place. There will be some conceptual or normative issues that will be used to assess the usefulness or correctness of the definition.
There may be stipulated criteria, e. Sometimes, this is not an objection to a definition. I am going to begin by canvassing a wide variety of definitions of paternalism which may have been developed in quite different contexts for quite different purposes. It is helpful both to see how wide the variety is and to see the various dimensions along which the definitions vary.
The first crucial dimension is what the term is predicated of. People can be paternalistic. Reasons can be reasons of paternalism. Motivations can be gefald. Institutions can be paternalistic. Policies can be paternalistic. It may be that acts are primary in some definitions with the other elements being defined in terms of acts, or the order might be the reverse. But I shall be concerned primarily with the notion of a paternalistic act or the notion of a paternalistic policy. A paternalistic act may be defined daorkin terms of the outcomes it produces.
If a state enacts legislation requiring boaters to wear life jackets, and if wearing life jackets is beneficial to the interests of boaters, then this is an act of paternalism. The alternative view is that whether an act is paternalistic or not cannot be determined without reference to the reasons for which the state acts.
Two acts may have the same outcome, an improvement of B, yet only one counts as paternalistic. Hypothetical Motives An act may be defined as paternalistic in terms of the reason for which A acts. If she has more than one reason there is an issue of how to specify gerlad relation between her various reasons and the characterization of the act. If we are considering a piece of legislation which is passed by many voters, with differing reasons, the issue is even more complex. But in both cases it is the actual reasons which must be considered.
The alternative view is that the terald which count in determining whether an act is paternalistic are the hypothetical reasons which could motivate or justify the act. Reasons As opposed to what explains the act, the motives for which the agent acts, the important question may be whether there are reasons which are sufficient to justify the policy which are of the appropriate kind.
Consider the case where a husband hides paterjalism sleeping pills because he fears that his wife may find them and use them to commit suicide. She has no right that he keep his sleeping pills in clear view. Or, one might consider the act as paternalistic even while conceding this point. In some sense he substitutes his judgment for hers in the belief that his judgment is better than hers.
I interfere with your autonomy when I steal your bicycle but that is not a case of paternalism.
The issue is whether it is a necessary condition. Can I act paternalistically towards B even if I do not in any way violate his autonomy?
If I push you paternalis of the way of a car to avoid injury this could be thought to be paternalistic. Suppose I do not push you out of the way when I couldenvisaging minor bruises and scrapes, so that you will miss a business meeting where I believe you will make egrald seriously mistaken deal.
Against your consent vs. If I act knowing that you do not or would not patwrnalism to what I am doing, I act against your consent. If I act not knowing whether you consent or would consent or not, I act without your consent.
A related question is whether the test is objective or subjective, i. The broadest definition I have encountered is that of Seanna Sheffrin who defines paternalism in such a way that the beneficiary of the action may be, and may be intended to be, someone other than the person towards whom we are acting paternalistically. I will return to this definition later. Moral The issue here is whether the harm to be avoided is psychological or physical, such as death or torment, or is moral such as being corrupted or degraded.
Moral paternalism is to be distinguished from legal moralism. In the latter case the grounds for acting are that the conduct in question is wrong or evil but not that it harms the agent who acts in these ways. It is a distinct, substantive, question of whether, for example, if your character is made worse by what you do, you are worse off, i.
Some philosopher such as Plato have asserted the truth of this view. Some philosophers such as Feinberg have denied it.
Definitions Given the number of these dimensions, and the possibility of combining the dimensions in various ways, there are obviously a large number of definitions that are possible.
Obviously not all possibilities have been seriously put forward for acceptance. But the variety is larger than might be thought and I will set out a number of proposed definitions to give the reader an idea of what such a variety might look like. A X acts paternalistically towards Y by doing omitting Z if and only if: Dworkin, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. C 1 x aims to close an option that would otherwise dworkim open to y or x chooses for y in the event that y is unable to choose for himself 2 To the extent that x does so in order to promote y’s good.
Paternalism | The Monist | Oxford Academic
A policy is paternalistic, then, if it cannot be justified by non-paternalistic reasons alone, and the government adopts it only because someone in the relevant political process takes some paternalistic reason as sufficient to justify it. Having seen the variety of ways of defining paternalism, and the various dimensions along which definitions differ, I want to explore this last definition in some detail.
My purpose in doing so is to try and see what the nature of the dispute between various rival definitions amounts to. After all, if the whole process were merely stipulative—this is how I propose to use this word—then one would simply present the definition, perhaps point out some of its implicationsand go on to the justificatory issues. But proponents do not follow this pattern.
They seem to be defending their definitions against rivals.
What could such a defense look like? The most striking part of the definition is clause 3. The first thing to note is that the entire discussion of paternalism takes place in the larger context of a discussion of the Unconscionability Doctrine in contract law.
Liberals tend to favor it as a way of enabling poor people who are taken advantage of to get out of contractual obligations. But opponents of the doctrine, often of a libertarian or conservative bent, object to the doctrine on the grounds that it is an instance of paternalist behavior. But to do this she must show that it is not an instance of paternalism in the sense that her opponent to the dispute accept something as paternalistic.
After all, it would be foolish to simply define something as paternalistic only if it issay, an instance of coercion, argue that a court not upholding a contract is not an instance of coercion, and therefore claim that the UD is not an instance of coercion. For her opponent already concedes that the UD is not an instance of coercion, but argues nevertheless it is an instance of paternalism. For the key to her normative argument is that she believes that there is a distinct motive which can justify not enforcing unconscionable contracts having nothing to do with protecting one of the parties.
She argues that the state has a right not to be complicit in enforcing contracts that it believes to be immoral, because exploitative.
Given that the traditionalist believe that only a certain range of motives makes an act paternalistic, patetnalism that the desire to not be complicit is not one of them, they could agree that there is a non-paternalistic justification for the UD.
She believes that the traditional idea of testing these against our linguistic intuitions is plausible but she thinks that it also should involve our normative intuitions.
Defining Paternalism | gerald dworkin –
First try and spell out why we are concerned about paternalism. What is our interest in it? What is the normative point of classifying some modes of action as paternalistic in the first place.
Second, in light of that knowledge formulate a characterization which includes and excludes acts on the basis that they are sufficiently similar with respect to the normative point of the notion.
patermalism Argue against alternative notions because they either include acts which do not seem sufficiently similar, or exclude acts which do seem similar so that their exclusions seems arbitrary. Let us look at how the actual argument proceeds. I do not propose to examine each of these inclusions or exclusions but to look at two of them to give the flavor of the argument.
Let us start with the most startling. Reference to the welfare or interest of Y is no longer a necessary condition. Suppose an interlocutor raises his handat a talk. He is called upon and just as he haltingly begins to articulate hispoint, an excited, dwotkin colleague loses self-control and interjects: She takes over hisquestion because she feels she has a better command of it than he does.
Such a refusal also seems paternalist. My gerad reaction is to think of this as precisely the contrast class to paternalism. Her argument is the following: We should have the same sort of normative reaction to the case in which the ranger forbids the climb from concern for the spouse [ as to the case when she forbids it from concern for the hiker—gd].
Paternaljsm concerns us about paternalismnarrowly construed, should spark the same concern about these closely related, similarly motivated cases. But similarity requires a metric. Her proposal is to use as the metric whether the act warrants the same kind of normative reaction as the central case, i.