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Paternalism

Moral Theory and Legal Practice

Series:

Antal Szerletics

This book explores and critically evaluates conceptual and justificatory models related to paternalism in the context of moral philosophy. Paternalistic interventions promoting someone’s good or protecting the person from self-harming actions raise controversial questions from a legal and an ethical perspective. The tension between the benevolent character of paternalism and its interference with personal autonomy seems to hinder the development of a coherent theory that could specify the «proper» limits of protective state interventions. The theoretical investigation is complemented by selected cases from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of Hungary.

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1. Introduction .......................................................................................................9 1.1 The relevance of the topic ...........................................................................11 1.2 The method and scope of the research ......................................................12 1.3 The structure of the book ............................................................................13 2. Definitional and justificatory questions ..............................................19 2.1 Defining paternalism ...................................................................................19 2.1.1 The origins of the expression ............................................................ 19 2.1.2 The concept of paternalism .............................................................. 24 2.1.3 The external aspects of paternalism: the system of liberty-limiting principles ................................................................. 39 2.1.4 The internal aspects of paternalism: identifying subcategories .......42 2.1.5 State paternalism ................................................................................ 44 2.2 Justifying paternalism ..................................................................................46 2.2.1 Autonomy-based justifications ......................................................... 47 2.2.2 Consequentialist justifications ......................................................... 59 2.2.3 Virtue ethics ........................................................................................ 62 3. Autonomy-based approaches ...................................................................65 3.1 Autonomy and paternalism ........................................................................65 3.1.1 The complex character of personal autonomy ............................... 66 3.1.2 Moral autonomy ................................................................................. 75 3.1.3 The value of autonomy ...................................................................... 80 3.1.4 The ‘myth’ of autonomy ..................................................................... 86 3.2 The harm principle of John Stuart Mill .....................................................89 3.2.1 The absolute character of prohibition ............................................. 90 3.2.2 The utilitarian justification of the harm principle ......................... 98 63.2.3 Reconciling Mill’s utilitarianism with the harm principle .......... 100 3.2.4 The shift to deontology .................................................................... 103 3.3 Hard cases for the ‘soft’ paternalist .......................................................... 104 3.3.1 Physical protection ........................................................................... 106 3.3.2 Health regulation and dangerous substances ............................... 109 3.3.3 Euthanasia ......................................................................................... 114 3.3.4 Human dignity and paternalism .................................................... 119 3.4 Liberal neutrality and paternalism ......................................................... 122 4. Alternative approaches ............................................................................. 135 4.1 The emergence of virtue ethics................................................................ 135 4.2 Paternalism and virtues ............................................................................ 140 4.3 Perfectionism ............................................................................................. 142 4.3.1 Perfectionist ethics ........................................................................... 142 4.3.2 Perfectionist politics ........................................................................ 143 4.3.3 Perfectionism and paternalism ...................................................... 144 4.3.4 The liberal perfectionism of Joseph Raz ....................................... 146 4.4 Paternalism as caring ................................................................................ 151 4.4.1 Care and virtues ............................................................................... 151 4.4.2 Outlining a...

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