Relational Autonomy and the Social Dynamics of Paternalism

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In this paper I look at various ways that interpersonal and social relations can be seen as required for autonomy. I then consider cases where those dynamics might play out or not in potentially paternalistic situations. In particular, I consider cases of especially vulnerable persons who are attempting to reconstruct a sense of practical identity required for their autonomy and need the potential paternalist's aid in doing so. I then draw out the implications for standard liberal principles of (anti-) paternalism, specifically in clinical or therapeutic situations. The picture of potential paternalism that emerges here is much more of a dynamic, interpersonal scenario rather than a case of two separate individuals making decisions independent of each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-382
Number of pages14
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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