What is Wrong with Anti-Paternalism?


  • Michal Sládeček Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade




autonomy, availability of goods, paternalism, anti-paternalism, Quong


The article scrutinizes anti-paternalistic arguments concerning the best judgements, the autonomy and the moral status of persons. The first two have been criticized by Quong as inadequate, and the article attempts to point out the shortcomings of this critique. The best judgement argument can be reformulated, having in mind particular situations in which person’s own judgement should be considered as decisive. The autonomy argument cannot be disregarded as too permissive regarding paternalism as it allows paternalistic interventions, which are weak and confined only to a strictly limited scope. Also, when considered as the condition for the validity of choice, autonomy cannot be treated as an ultimate value. Finally, the moral status argument proposed by Quong is plausible to some extent, when claiming that it is presumptively wrong to treat persons as not having equal moral powers. However, this argument does not cover the legitimate institutional policies in specific cases when it can be reasonably presumed that people will omit to act in favour of their well-being. Also, this argument would prohibit any interventions in order to increase availability of goods, even if the moral status of the persons is not affected.


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How to Cite

Sládeček, M. (2024) “What is Wrong with Anti-Paternalism?”, Filozofija i društvo/Philosophy and Society. Belgrade, Serbia, 35(1), pp. 149–164. doi: 10.2298/FID2401149S.