Related Entries 1. Introduction The government requires people to contribute to a pension system Social Security. It requires motorcyclists to wear helmets. It forbids people from swimming at a public beach when lifeguards are not present.
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See Article History Paternalism, attitude and practice that are commonly, though not exclusively, understood as an infringement on the personal freedom and autonomy of a person or class of persons with a beneficent or protective intent.
Paternalism generally involves competing claims between individual liberty and authoritative social control. Questions concerning paternalism also may include both the claims of individual rights and social protections and the legal and socially legitimated means of satisfying those claims.
The discursive use of the term paternalism is almost exclusively negative, employed to diminish specific policies or practices by presenting them in opposition to individual freedom. History of paternalism The term paternalism first appeared in the late 19th century as an implied critique predicated on the inherent value of personal liberty and autonomy, positions elegantly outlined by Immanuel Kant in and John Stuart Mill in In this tradition, adult members of states , corporations , and communities functioned under the presumably benevolent authority of kings, presidents, and executives.
Prior to industrialization , patronage systems informed the stratified economic, political, and social arrangements prevalent throughout Europe and the Americas. Paternalism, as it evolved through the industrial age of the 19th and 20th centuries, applied the model of family relations and practices of patronage fatherly protection, tutelage, and control to relationships between classes of people understood as unequal: employers and workers, the privileged and the underprivileged, the state and the masses.
Historically, then, paternalism is a critical term applied in the West to the system of beliefs and practices emerging in the transition from a social order of patriarchal class structures, including slavery in the United States , to a free society of autonomous and equal individuals. Although it is not defined by a single institution or set of institutions, paternalism was prevalent among the early industrial companies.
In the United States the ongoing debate between social reformists and free-market advocates shifted from the political and economic integration of former slaves in the late 19th century to a broader concern in the 20th century with the rights of workers, the poor , children , and other marginalized groups such as criminals, the mentally ill, and people with disabilities. As the discourse of paternalism evolved, its meaning became more nuanced.
Responding to what he considered intrusively interventionist policy and program changes affecting the poor e. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. John Kleinig elucidated Dworkin with the observation that incentives may effectively replace coercion as a mechanism of social control. In establishing the basic theoretical framework of paternalism based on the conditions and justifications for restricting freedom and autonomy, Dworkin differentiated among various types of paternalism as hard or soft, broad or narrow, weak or strong, pure or impure, and moral or welfare.
Primarily concerned with the safety and welfare of the person, an advocate of hard paternalism would permit restrictions of liberty to prevent suicide or grave personal harm even when a person in question is fully cognizant of his actions and their consequences. In contrast, an advocate of soft paternalism would be concerned primarily with the autonomy of the person, justifying the restriction of liberty only to ascertain whether the person in question were indeed choosing to harm or endanger himself with full volition and knowledge of the facts; the soft paternalist would not deny the freedom to inflict self-harm or even death if that were an authentically free and knowledgeable choice.
Strong paternalism would prevent a person from achieving a desired consequence on the grounds that he may be confused or mistaken about his ends but not if he understands his choice. In such a case, a severely intoxicated person could be prevented from driving if he intends to drive home and is incapable of perceiving his inability to drive safely, but that person could not be prevented from getting intentionally intoxicated to facilitate a fatal car crash.
Pure paternalism would restrict the actions of people who may be harmed by their own behaviour, while impure paternalism would restrict the actions of third parties to protect potential victims. For example, unauthorized consumption of street narcotics is illegal to prevent people from self-endangerment or death—a pure paternalist intervention. An impure paternalist intervention would criminalize the prescription of narcotics by physicians or their production by pharmaceutical companies in order to protect the public.
Finally, moral paternalism is differentiated from welfare paternalism on the basis of the type of good intended for the person whose freedom is being restricted. Local blue laws laws forbidding certain secular activities on Sunday were instituted in some communities for the purpose of promoting a moral standard of sobriety, quiet, and church attendance on Sundays, whether or not the individuals in those communities wished to observe Sunday as a religious day or considered engaging in Sunday commerce or drinking to be morally corrupting.
Coercive measures imposed to promote the moral good are different from others—such as speed limits for motorists, inoculations for schoolchildren, or architectural design standards in neighbourhoods—that are designed to promote the general welfare of the citizenry. A decade after the publication of his influential article, Dworkin clarified his original defense of soft paternalism, noting his position that paternalism is sometimes justified in cases where the person in question is demonstrably incompetent or unable to act responsibly in his own self-interest.
Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Nudging uses the clever tricks of modern psychology and economics to manipulate people. X does so only because X believes Z will improve the welfare of Y where this includes preventing his welfare from diminishingor in some way promote the interests, values, or good of Y. The usual justification for paternalism refers to the interests of the person being interfered with. Perhaps people perceive a process as manipulative only if they already disapprove of it for other reasons. Essentially it is the view that the fact that an act is intended to be beneficial for a person, and does not affect or violate the interests of others, settles the question of whether it may be done.
See Article History Paternalism, attitude and practice that are commonly, though not exclusively, understood as an infringement on the personal freedom and autonomy of a person or class of persons with a beneficent or protective intent. Paternalism generally involves competing claims between individual liberty and authoritative social control. Questions concerning paternalism also may include both the claims of individual rights and social protections and the legal and socially legitimated means of satisfying those claims. The discursive use of the term paternalism is almost exclusively negative, employed to diminish specific policies or practices by presenting them in opposition to individual freedom.