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Reason, Morality, and LawThe Philosophy of John Finnis$
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John Keown and Robert P. George

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675500

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675500.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 January 2021

Pure Perfectionism and the Limits of Paternalism

Pure Perfectionism and the Limits of Paternalism

(p.204) 13 Pure Perfectionism and the Limits of Paternalism
Reason, Morality, and Law

Christopher Tollefsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues, contrary to liberal forms of anti-perfectionism, that the state may, and sometimes must, take into account the moral worth of activities and forms of life, and the ways in which they may, or may not, conduce to a flourishing life. However, the ends for which the state acts are limited, and this limits the kinds of paternalism it is reasonably open to the state to pursue. In particular, penalization is permissible only when the wrongs in question are external and interpersonal. Thus, while the liberal Principle of Neutrality is false, the Harm Principle, properly understood, is correct.

Keywords:   paternalism, perfectionism, autonomy, coercion, authority, neutrality, harm principle, natural law

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