Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-dc8c957cd-p6nx7 Total loading time: 0.278 Render date: 2022-01-29T13:31:56.289Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Chapter 7 - Paternalism and the principle of fairness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2013

Christian Coons
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Ohio
Michael Weber
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Ohio
Get access

Summary

Robert Nozick provides this version of the Hart–Rawls principle of fairness:

[W]hen a number of persons engage in a just, mutually advantageous, cooperative venture according to rules and thus restrain their liberty in ways necessary to yield advantages for all, those who have submitted to these restrictions have a right to similar acquiescence on the part of those who have benefited from their submission.

The principle of fairness has encountered vigorous objections. Some deny that the principle of fairness really justifies the moral obligations it proposes. Others deny that any obligations generated according to the terms of the principle are permissibly enforceable. One important recent objection maintains that forcing people to comply with the principle of fairness would be wrongfully paternalistic. Untangling this objection requires clarification as to what should count as a paternalistic restriction and what makes such restriction wrongful when it is that.

The moral appeal of the principle of fairness withstands these criticisms. Or so I shall argue. My procedure will be to consider objections one by one and either argue against the criticism or indicate how a minor reformulation of the principle accommodates the concern. The appeal throughout is to intuitive plausibility; I venture no deep explanation of what might justify the principle. To my mind its attraction is simple and lies on the surface. The core idea is roughly that it is morally wrong to free ride on the cooperative efforts of others, benefiting from their sacrifices without doing one’s fair share to contribute, at least when one’s failure to contribute would leave other contributors worse off. (I do not try to defend the principle of fairness against a deflationary act-consequentialist account of the supposed obligations it generates. This chapter aims to contribute towards the development of the most promising non-consequentialist moral theory.)

Type
Chapter
Information
Paternalism
Theory and Practice
, pp. 134 - 156
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
4
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×