What should relational egalitarians believe?

Anne-Sofie Greisen Højlund*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Many find that the objectionable nature of paternalism has something to do with belief. However, since it is commonly held that beliefs are directly governed by epistemic as opposed to moral norms, how could it be objectionable to hold paternalistic beliefs about others if they are supported by the evidence? Drawing on central elements of relational egalitarianism, this paper attempts to bridge this gap. In a first step, it argues that holding paternalistic beliefs about others implies a failure to regard them as equals in terms of their moral agency. In a second step, it shows that the fact that we should regard others as equals in this sense raises the threshold for sufficiency of evidence for paternalistic beliefs to be epistemically justified. That is, moral reasons of relational equality encroach on the epistemic. However, these reasons are not decisive. In cases where others are about to jeopardize critical goods such as their lives, mobility or future autonomy, relational equality sometimes calls for paternalistic action and, by extension, the formation of beliefs that render such action rational. The upshot is that in order to meet demands of relational equality we have a pro tanto reason to not hold paternalistic beliefs about others.

TidsskriftPolitics, Philosophy & Economics
Sider (fra-til)55-74
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2022


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