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Title: Autonomy and paternalism
Author: Westwell-Roper, Yolande
ISNI:       0000 0001 3566 3240
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1985
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The aim of the thesis is to develop a theory of autonomy-respecting paternalism which delineates an area of morally permissible paternalistic interference. Paternalism is defined as any infringement of a prima facie right to non-interference for the purpose of protecting or promoting the recipient's well-being. It is argued that autonomy involves not only liberty of action, but also the achievement of self-construction and self-control. The role of rational reflection in the achievement of self-construction is discussed at some length, and the importance of knowledge, including self-knowledge and moral sensitivity is emphasized. The right to non-interference is taken to be grounded in the intrinsic value of autonomy, and possession of a prima facie right to non-interference is extended to all beings with desires. This general right is discussed in terms of three rights of greater specificity: non-interference with actions, states, and opportunities. An account of the vehicle for alienation of the right to non-interference is developed in terms of a technical notion of subsequent approval. The principle of respect for autonomy is shown to be as applicable in paternalistic dealings with children as it is with adults, without this having counter-intuitive consequences in practice. It is also shown how far the paternalistic promotion of a recipient's well-being, understood as the satisfaction of informed desires, can be reconciled with the principle of respect for autonomy. Finally, the theory is applied to particular cases of paternalism in familial, medical, and legal contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Autonomy (Philosophy) ; Paternalism