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Understanding Eating DisordersConceptual and Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa$
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Simona Giordano

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269747

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199269742.001.0001

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Paternalism v. Respect for Autonomy

Paternalism v. Respect for Autonomy

Chapter:
(p.33) 2 Paternalism v. Respect for Autonomy
Source:
Understanding Eating Disorders
Author(s):

Simona Giordano (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199269742.003.0003

This chapter discusses the ethical issues that arise for people dealing with someone in the grip of an eating disorder, and articulates a theory of justifiable paternalism. Eating-disordered behaviour is often dangerous and self-harming, and the person with eating disorders is typically intelligent and defends her eating habits. This chapter answers the question: can we rightly prevent people from harming themselves, if this is what they want? It argues that sometimes paternalism may be ethical, but only when certain conditions are met (when the behaviour to be restrained lacks autonomy in some relevant way). The theory of paternalism articulated in this chapter takes into account various philosophical and ethical notions, which are explained in plain language.

Keywords:   ethics, paternalism, autonomy, reasoning, deliberation

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