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Raisons politiques

2011/4 (No 44)

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This article advocates two criteria to distinguish good and bad paternalism in a liberal perfectionist view. It identifies paternalism based on the value of autonomy and paternalism based on other values. Only the first is compatible with liberalism. Within the first group, I identify paternalism based on a specific definition of autonomy and another that does not assume a specific definition of autonomy. Whereas the first is morally justified, legally, only the second is compatible with liberalism. Through a discussion of how care economics works and is justified – and other particular examples – this article shows how paternalistic policies may be desirable, acceptable or unacceptable according to their compliance with these criteria.


  1. Introduction
  2. The paradoxes of liberal autonomy
  3. Promoting autonomy as a virtue: care policies
    1. Associative care networks
    2. Policy and the burden of care
  4. Conclusion

To cite this article

Raul Magni-Berton, “  Care, paternalisme et vertu dans une perspective libérale ”, Raisons politiques 4/2011 (n° 44) , p. 139-161
URL : www.cairn.info/revue-raisons-politiques-2011-4-page-139.htm.
DOI : 10.3917/rai.044.0139.

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