Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Anti-paternalism
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology.
2006 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This is a thesis about anti-paternalism – the liberal doctrine that we may not interfere with a person’s liberty for her own good. Empirical circumstances and moral values may certainly give us reason to avoid benevolent interference. Anti-paternalism as a normative doctrine should, however, be rejected.

Essay I concerns the definitions of paternalism and anti-paternalism. It is argued that only a definition of paternalism in terms of compound reason-actions can accommodate its special moral properties. Definitions in terms of actions, common in the literature, cannot. It is argued, furthermore, that in specifying the reason-actions in further detail, the notion of what is self-regarding, as opposed to other-regarding, is irrelevant, contrary to received opinion.

Essay II starts out with the definition of paternalism defended in essay I and claims that however this very general definition is specified, anti-paternalism is unreasonable and should be rejected. Anti-paternalism is the position that certain reasons – referring one way or the other to the good of a person, give no valid normative support to certain actions – some kind of interferences with the same person. Since the reasons in question are normally quite legitimate and important reasons for action, a convincing argument for anti-paternalism must explain why they are invalid in cases of interference. A closer look at the reasons and actions in question provides no basis for such an explanation.

Essay III considers a concrete case of benevolent interference – the withholding of information concerning uncertain threats to public health in the public’s best interest. Such a policy has been suggested in relation to the European Commission’s proposed new system for the Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH). Information about uncertain threats to health from chemicals would allegedly spread anxiety and depression and thus do more harm than good. The avoidance of negative health effects is accepted as a legitimate and good reason for withholding of information, thus respecting the conclusion of essay II, that anti-paternalism should be rejected. Other reasons, however, tip the balance in favour of making the information available. These reasons include the net effects on knowledge, psychological effects, effects on private decisions and effects on political decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Filosofi och teknikhistoria , 2006. , vii, 1-8 sammanfattning, s.9-79: 3 uppsatser p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1654-627X
Keyword [en]
paternalism, anti-paternalism, private sphere, self-regarding, harm principle, interference, reasons, actions, reason-actions, epistemic paternalism, public health, withholding of information, uncertain information, MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity).
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4065ISBN: 91-7178-404-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4065DiVA: diva2:10607
Presentation
2006-06-14, Seminarierum 231, KTH, Teknikringen 78B, Stockholm, 10:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101115Available from: 2006-06-28 Created: 2006-06-28 Last updated: 2010-11-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Paternalism and private spheres
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Paternalism and private spheres
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6026 (URN)
Note
QC 20101115Available from: 2006-06-28 Created: 2006-06-28 Last updated: 2010-11-15Bibliographically approved
2. Against anti-paternalism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Against anti-paternalism
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6027 (URN)
Note
QC 20101115Available from: 2006-06-28 Created: 2006-06-28 Last updated: 2010-11-15Bibliographically approved
3. Epistemic Paternalism in Public Health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Epistemic Paternalism in Public Health
2005 (English)In: Journal of Medical Ethics, ISSN 0306-6800, E-ISSN 1473-4257, Vol. 31, no 11, 648-653 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Receiving information about threats to one’s health can contribute to anxiety and depression. In contemporary medical ethics there is considerable consensus that patient autonomy, or the patient’s right to know, in most cases outweighs these negative effects of information. Worry about the detrimental effects of information has, however, been voiced in relation to public health more generally. In particular, information about uncertain threats to public health, from—for example, chemicals—are said to entail social costs that have not been given due consideration. This criticism implies a consequentialist argument for withholding such information from the public in their own best interest. In evaluating the argument for this kind of epistemic paternalism, the consequences of making information available must be compared to the consequences of withholding it. Consequences that should be considered include epistemic effects, psychological effects, effects on private decisions, and effects on political decisions. After giving due consideration to the possible uses of uncertain information and rebutting the claims that uncertainties imply small risks and that they are especially prone to entail misunderstandings and anxiety, it is concluded that there is a strong case against withholding of information about uncertain threats to public health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BMJ, 2005
Keyword
epistemic paternalism; public health; withholding of information; uncertain information
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10946 (URN)10.1136/jme.2004.010850 (DOI)000233017600008 ()2-s2.0-28244441646 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100714Available from: 2009-08-27 Created: 2009-08-27 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(135 kB)2223 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 135 kBChecksum MD5
dc395038991b7841e3172fba8c5d3ce6dab271989231870e376deb2aa96a874a5d071cf3
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Grill, Kalle
By organisation
Philosophy and History of Technology
Philosophy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 2223 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 712 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf