- 人間社会学研究集録 (ISSN:1880683X)
- vol.1, pp.73-94, 2006-03-31
Despite the liberty of individuals, the government sometimes compels an individual to refrain from a particular act 'for his/her own good'. This is usually justified by one of the following arguments: harm to others, offense to others, legal moralism, or paternalism. Our purpose in this paper is to examine the arguments justified by paternalism and to suggest more precise criteria for invoking paternalism. We have identified two distinct types of situations where paternalistic restrictions are justified. In one case, a person is acting in a non-rational fashion, while in the other, a person is acting in a completely rational fashion. There are some stronger arguments against paternalism in the latter situation. However, we may regard paternalism as justified when a nation needs to protect or promote its basic "goods", such as health, which any reasonable individual would want to have, as Gerald Dworkin has suggested, except that some individuals clearly express their will to refuse their basic "goods". Therefore, we admit that fully rational individuals' decisions should be respected and that they should pursue their own good. However, we can allow authority's interference with an individual's choices as long as that interference is related to his/her basic "goods", such as life or health.