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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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Our reason for interfering with the manufacturer is that he is causing harm to others. So if a person really prefers safety to convenience then it is legitimate to force them to wear seatbelts. A narrow paternalist is only concerned with the question of state coercion, i. They seem to be defending their definitions against rivals. Given some particular analysis of paternalism there will be various normative views about when paternalism is justified.

The Monist 56 1: One should decide upon an analysis based on a hypothesis of what will be most useful for thinking about a particular range of problems. Nudging uses the clever tricks of modern psychology and economics to manipulate people.

Philosophy and Public Affairs. There may be no common features which explain why those nudges that are wrongful all fall under a plausible pwternalism of manipulation.

I elaborate on this on p. In the case of harnessing non-rational tendencies for nudges these conditions are not satisfied. The early critics attempted to distinguish interventions such as Cafeteria from interventions such as merely providing information.

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There will be a context—perhaps one of personal ethics or perhaps one of current law—in which the concept finds a place.

Heeger – – Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 4: Dworkin, Stanford Encyclopedia of Patfrnalism. Nothing corresponds to this in the definition above.

And it is the good as viewed by the agent herself. It does geraldd allow consent to certain forms of assault to be a defense against prosecution for that assault.

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Gerald Dworkin, Moral paternalism – PhilPapers

Because it violates autonomy? It is clear that while many nudges as defined harness bad reasoning, most do not. Note in this case we get both a lack of transparency and the harnessing of non-rational tendencies. gerakd

People are loss averse, and thus more willing to forgo a raise in take-home income then they are to actively re-direct the additional funds they have already received to their retirement accounts each year.

The question becomes under what, if any, circumstances, can the presumption be overcome? Note that in cases where the government intervenes payernalism other-regarding grounds it is not assumed that this must be an insult to the person being restricted. Autonomy in Applied Ethics in Applied Ethics.

It is helpful both to see how wide the variety is and to see the various dimensions along which the definitions vary. The last seems very implausible. Let us call nudges which are transparent in this sense narrow nudges.


Perhaps people perceive a process as manipulative only if they patsrnalism disapprove of it for other reasons. Request removal from index. Suppose the person in fact consents but this is not known to the paternaliser. If he jumps because he believes that it is ggerald to be spontaneous we may not. 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.

Since it might be argued there is no duty to rescue, the issue of when and whether to rescue is within your legitimate sphere of agency. For example, prohibiting smoking makes no sense unless we also prohibit the sale of tobacco products, and this prohibition limits the freedom of smokers and of non-smokers who supply grrald tobacco.

If one just appeals to intuition then this seems absurd.


The standard here has to be one of [impartial] rationality: Now you put them together and mold out of them a ball. If one believes that sometimes paternalism is justifiable one may do so for various kinds of theoretical reasons. Some philosopher such as Plato have asserted the truth of this view.

Some argue that taking advantage of our non-rational tendencies, even for good ends, is objectionable.