The View from Hell

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Robin Hanson on Medical Paternalism

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Robin Hanson discusses paternalism, and the need to check our intuitions about intervening in other people’s decisions, in a thoughtful short article, including a parable about when it is appropriate to stop someone from walking near the edge of a cliff. The article primarily focuses on the moral basis for public health interventions, such as drug regulation and physician licensing, and presents models that illustrate problems with trusting someone else’s judgment of what’s best for you.

An excerpt:

Do you support imposing limits on the food and drugs people can buy, or the medical advisors they can choose?

If you want to convince yourself and the rest of us that your support for such paternalism is based on more than a simple arrogant presumption that people like you can run other people’s lives better than they can, you should make some effort to explain to yourself and the rest of us exactly why you think your paternalism is justified.

Full article here.

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Written by Sister Y

April 22, 2008 at 1:55 am

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