<i>Paternalism v. Respect for Autonomy</i>

Simona Giordano

in Understanding Eating Disorders

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780199269747
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603129 | DOI:

Series: Issues in Biomedical Ethics

 Paternalism v. Respect for Autonomy

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This chapter discusses the ethical issues that arise for people dealing with someone in the grip of an eating disorder, and articulates a theory of justifiable paternalism. Eating-disordered behaviour is often dangerous and self-harming, and the person with eating disorders is typically intelligent and defends her eating habits. This chapter answers the question: can we rightly prevent people from harming themselves, if this is what they want? It argues that sometimes paternalism may be ethical, but only when certain conditions are met (when the behaviour to be restrained lacks autonomy in some relevant way). The theory of paternalism articulated in this chapter takes into account various philosophical and ethical notions, which are explained in plain language.

Keywords: ethics; paternalism; autonomy; reasoning; deliberation

Chapter.  10987 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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