By Joel Feinberg
This can be the 3rd quantity of Joel Feinberg's very hot the ethical Limits of the legal legislation, a four-volume sequence during which Feinberg skillfully addresses a fancy query: What forms of behavior may well the kingdom make felony with out infringing at the ethical autonomy of person voters? In damage to Self, Feinberg bargains insightful statement into a number of notions connected to self-inflicted damage, overlaying such subject matters as criminal paternalism, own sovereignty and its limitations, voluntariness and assumptions of probability, consent and its counterfeits, coercive strength, incapability, and selection of loss of life.
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Where alternative arrangements that would satisfy both groups at tolerable cost are obviously available, then the interpretation of the "implicit rationale" as paternalistic gains plausiblity. 5. Legal paternalism, the harm principle, and "garrison thresholds'" There are many cases, as we have seen, of criminal prohibitions that can be defended, at least initially, on two distinct grounds, both the need to protect 22 HARM TO SELF individuals from the harmful consequences of their own acts and the need to prevent social harm generally.
What makes a restriction paternalistic? " What is it that all these legal mechanisms, criminal and noncriminal, have in common? They all restrict the liberties or powers of persons, in the case of criminal laws by direct threat of punishment, in the noncriminal examples by other means, sometimes including punishment as a "back-up sanction," and purport to do this for "the good" of, or more commonly to prevent harm to, the very persons whose liberties are restricted. But when is the paternalistic reason the "real reason" for the rule in question?
And in other examples where the public interest is necessarily affected, the degree of harm to it seems altogether too trivial to justify, by itself, imposing burdensome constraints. '0 If this assumption is false, then there is no interesting problem concerning legal paternalism, and certainly no practical legislative problem, since all "paternalistic" restrictions, in that case, could be defended as necessary to protect persons other than those restricted, and hence would not be (wholly) paternalistic.