Decision Sciences and the New Case For Paternalism: Three Welfare-related Justificatory Challenges

ROBERTO FUNAGALLI
SOCIAL CHOICE AND WELFARE (2016). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI 10.1007/s00355-016-0972-1

Abstract: Several authors have recently advocated a so-called new case for paternalism, according to which empirical findings from distinct decision sciences provide compelling reasons in favour of paternalistic interference. In their view, the available behavioural and neuro-psychological findings enable paternalists to address traditional anti-paternalistic objections and reliably enhance the well-being of their target agents. In this paper, I combine insights from decision-making research, moral philosophy and evidence-based policy evaluation to assess the merits of this case. In particular, I articulate and defend three complementary arguments that, I claim, challenge even the best available calls for such case. In doing so, I identify the main justificatory challenges faced by the new paternalists and explicate the implications of these challenges for the ongoing philosophical debate about the justifiability of paternalistic interference.