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Autonomy-Enhancing Paternalism

Martin Binder () and Leonhard Lades

Kyklos, 2015, vol. 68, issue 1, 3-27

Abstract: type="main">

We present a form of soft paternalism called “autonomy-enhancing paternalism” that seeks to increase individual well-being by facilitating the individual ability to make critically reflected, autonomous decisions. The focus of autonomy-enhancing paternalism is on helping individuals to become better decision-makers, rather than on helping them by making better decisions for them. Autonomy-enhancing paternalism acknowledges that behavioral interventions can change the strength of decision-making anomalies over time, and favors those interventions that improve, rather than reduce, individuals' ability to make good and unbiased decisions. By this it prevents manipulation of the individual by the soft paternalist, accounts for the heterogeneity of individuals, and counteracts slippery slope arguments by decreasing the probability of future paternalistic interventions. Moreover, autonomy-enhancing paternalism can be defended based on both liberal values and welfare considerations.

Date: 2015
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Working Paper: Autonomy-enhancing paternalism (2014) Downloads
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