Legal Paternalism and the Eclipse of Principle

60 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2016 Last revised: 30 Jun 2016

See all articles by R. George Wright

R. George Wright

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: June 19, 2016

Abstract

Legal paternalism involves, very roughly, requiring persons to do something for their own good. We often think of debates between legal paternalists and non-paternalists as taking place largely at the level of broad, basic principle. This Article argues, however, that in our culture, disputes over the proper scope of legal paternalism will increasingly focus not on issues of basic principle, but on much more detailed, concrete, particular, contextualized matters. The four major reasons for this eclipse of basic principles bearing upon legal paternalism are herein identified, explored, and illustrated.

Keywords: Jurisprudence, Paternalism, John Stuart Mill, Autonomy, Immanuel Kant, Libertarianism, Behavioral Regulation, Assisted Suicide

JEL Classification: K14, K20, K42

Suggested Citation

Wright, R. George, Legal Paternalism and the Eclipse of Principle (June 19, 2016). Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2016-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2797819 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2797819

R. George Wright (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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