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Stephanie Sheintul

Abstract

Some scholars working on the ethics of paternalism are interested in whether there is a systematic normative connection between hard paternalism and people’s moral rights. One affirmative view is that hard paternalism is pro tanto wrong inasmuch as it always involves a rights infringement. Daniel Groll defends this view on the grounds that hard paternalism always infringes a competent adult’s right to be the only one to act only (or overridingly) for his own good. I call this right the right to self-beneficence. In this note, I argue that Groll misidentifies a right that competent adults have. Rather than the right to self-beneficence, I argue that if hard paternalism infringes any particular right, it is a right that a competent adult has against others “taking over” matters that fall within his sphere of legitimate agency or, by extension, the legitimate exercise of his agency. I call this right the right against legitimate agency interference.

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Section
Discussion Notes

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