Free Essay Sample. Paternalism

Published: 2023-02-15
Free Essay Sample. Paternalism
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophy Social psychology Social issue
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1260 words
11 min read

What is paternalism, as Dworkin understands it?

According to Dworkin, paternalism is the act of rightly limiting the freedoms of a person to benefit the person in terms of the happiness, welfare, usefulness, interests, or value of the person being coerced. However, he argues that only some partial forms of government paternalism are justified only under particular conditions because only in certain times is a person justified to be compelled to do something because at that time they may be unable to see the situations that are desirable. However, this requires a government to prove that the action prevents harm to others or is beneficial to an individual. According to Dworkin, is that an action is considered paternalistic when it limits the freedom of a person, when it is done without the consent of the individual or if it is done with a beneficial purpose (Dworkin 95).

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What are the two sorts of reasons for opposing paternalistic interventions that Dworkin distinguishes and identifies in Mill's political philosophy?

Dworkin gives reason for opposing paternalistic interventions in Mill's political philosophy. The first reason is that mill's argument against paternalism is when it does not maximize the benefit. According to mills is that there is a part of human beings that desires to be uncontrolled by other persons or the government. It, therefore, means that human beings desire to become autonomous. He believes that certain laws, regulations, and decrees are justified even if they make it difficult for people to do as they plan because they are justified as paternalistic.

Further, the class of people whose freedom is restricted is not always the same as the class of people who benefits. For instance, it is the practitioner whose freedom is limited to the interest of the patient.

Dworkin also argues that rational people can decide to let others to limit their liberties top a certain limit as long as there is consent. For instance, a person who knows that they cannot avoid certain behaviors due to temptations; they can require other peoples to limit their liberties. However, there is a tendency of the people to continue limiting the liberties even when an individual whose freedoms are limited is in his right mind and able to make proper decisions (Dworkin 99).

Dworkin opposes the idea of John Stuart Mill that a person cannot be rightfully forced to do something. According to Dworkin is that an individual under some conditions can be compelled to do something if in case at that time, they are not capable of seeing the desirable effects of the behavior. Dworkin believes it is the role of the government to prove that the action is beneficial or harmful to citizens

Which is closer to Dworkin's view about why paternalistic interventions should be limited, if not prohibited?

Dworkin argues that paternalistic interventions should be limited if not prohibited because giving an individual his right does not harm him. The other argument is that satisfying a person's right can be harmful to him, but the possibility of harm is not a justification of denying a person to exercise the right. The moral concern of paternalistic intervention is that the person who believes is right and justified to overrule other people's judgment treats them as if they are less moral people (Dworkin 101). This situation prevents people the freedom to select their ends of action. If people shared the same goals, it would not be necessary to replace their decisions.

Another argument is that paternalism results in the restriction of the freedom of individuals in their interests but the interferences can also extend to people whose interests are not in question limiting their liberties.

Further, paternalism has another feature in that it is coercion that is meant to result in a benefit for the people it is intended. However, sometimes coercion does not always result in benefits to people being coerced because freedom could be preferred more because an individual does not appreciate its value or does not feel that the harmful incidence will occur. Further, some actions if prevented can affect other persons other than the ones that are to benefit and this is termed as impure paternalism. Examples of such activities include cigarette smoking. But in such cases, the people involved could choose to prevent the harmful effects. In such cases paternalistic interferences are not the same as in standard cases of protecting others from harm.

Sometimes paternalistic interventions are implemented to ensure that all members of a group that is geared towards accomplishing a common goal do so for the benefit of everyone. An individual who desires to violate the rule may be compelled to ensure compliance and achievement of their goals.

Dworkin also argues that even goods that seem essential to an individual such as health and education can sometimes be unreasonable to compel an individual to receive them because there may be other competing values. Sometimes a man can also act in non-rational manner. It is possible for an individual to attach some mistaken weights to some values making it impossible for him to act in ways that fulfils his desires and preferences (Dworkin 101).

Explain why Dworkin thinks there are three cases in which the good reasons that there are for limiting paternalism would permit exceptions, and explain whether Goldman's reasons for opposing paternalism in the medical profession, if correct, would pose a challenge for Dworkin's acceptance of paternalistic interventions in these cases.

Paternalism is justified in case a person is not in the capacity to look after his/her interests. Protection is necessary in such cases if people cannot make decisions for themselves. Further, it is also necessary to protect people who are incapacitated or portray unintentional self-destructive behavior. Interference is, therefore justified when people portray nonautonomous and self-destructive behavior. It is also justified when people portray acts that are irrational, uncharacteristic and unreasonable. Therefore paternalism is at tomes a duty in medicine where physicians have to choose to act as good parents and therefore assist people who are unable to make decisions for them. When people are very ill they do not have the capacity to choose what is right for them. It is therefore recommended for the society to adopt paternalistic laws for rational adults such as those that require motorists to wear seatbelts, motorist to wear helmets because sometimes can value freedom and ignore taking precautions that would help them prevent injury or death (Goldman 109). However, doctors cannot make decisions for others because they do not prefer competent decisions made by patients. According to Dworkin is that limiting the freedom of others is justified when people cannot make rational decisions and when their behavior is irrational and time should be allowed to determine whether the actions are autonomous or informed.

According to Goldman is that paternalism is unjustified because there is an assumption that patients prefer to have health and avert death, but it is not always the case as patients can sometimes not prefer these values. It is therefore vital for patients to be given the autonomy to decide on what they want about their health. If correct, Goldman's arguments would not pose a challenge for Dworkin's acceptance of the three cases since the two agree various areas. According to these two scholars paternalistic interference is justified when a person is acting irrationally or contradictorily based on his longstanding inclinations (Goldman 105). Therefore, people ought to be restricted when their ability to make decisions is weak.

Works Cited

Dworkin, Gerald. "Paternalism." the Monist (1972): 94-103.

Goldman, Alan. "The refutation of medical paternalism." The moral foundations of professional ethics (1980): (104-109).

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