DPhil Seminar (Wednesday - Week 3, HT22)

chess king white background victory shadow black 1418482 pxhere com

What makes paternalism morally wrong? Recent answers to this question use normative reasons to determine what is wrong with paternalism. In this paper, I challenge accounts that aim to answer this question in terms of exclusionary reasons, that is, reasons not to act on some reason. With a particular focus on Enoch’s (2016) account, I introduce a dilemma arising from a lack of clarity about how strong we should take exclusionary reasons to be. If exclusionary reasons are too strong, we risk labelling intuitively permissible cases of paternalistic intervention as morally wrong. If they are too weak, it is unclear whether the concept of an exclusionary reason is being properly deployed. Either way, exclusionary reasons will be unhelpful for determining the wrongness of paternalism. I then argue that the failure of this account paves the way for a model which claims that the wrongness of paternalism partly depends on the strength of our first-order reasons not to interfere.

This meeting will be hybrid. Please contact Matthew Hewson for a link.