Comments on Richard Arneson's Joel Feinberg and the Justification of Hard Paternalism

Posted: 12 Jun 2008  

William A. Edmundson

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

In Arneson's view Feinberg's arguments against Hard Paternalism fail. This Comment first distinguishes different formulations of Feinberg's antipaternalism in order to uncover his grounds for denying there is any reason to use criminal sanctions to inhibit self-harming. The Comment then examines Arneson's proposed "secular sanctity-of-life" justification for criminalizing certain categories of self-harming. Although Arenson's proposal is in accord with our intuitions about hypothetical cases, the Comment shows it to involve a costly "ideal-regarding" concept of individual interests. The cost may be worth paying, but (Feinberg believed) its magnitude constitutes a powerful case against Paternalism.

Keywords: paternalism, legal moralism, harm principle, John Stuart Mill, Joel Feinberg

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Edmundson, William A., Comments on Richard Arneson's Joel Feinberg and the Justification of Hard Paternalism (2005). Legal Theory, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1143628

William A. Edmundson (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

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