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Fair Governance – Paternalism and Perfectionism - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Fair Governance: Paternalism and Perfectionism

Francis H. Buckley


This book examines justifications for interfering with personal preferences. The paternalist would second-guess a person's choices with the goal of making him better off; the perfectionist would do so to enforce morals by eliminating immoral choices. The two categories overlap to a large extent, but remain different. The paternalist is not a perfectionist when he would impugn morally neutral choices which would nevertheless leave a person worse off. This book calls this “soft paternalism” and contrasts this to a “hard paternalism” that overlaps with perfectionism and enforces a moral vision. W ... More

Keywords: paternalism, perfectionism, liberalism, heuristics, weakness of the will, enforcement of morals, libertarian paternalism, nationalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780195341263
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341263.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Francis H. Buckley, author