Year: 1980 Source: Journal of Value Inquiry, v.14, (1980), p.195-216 SIEC No: 20021075

After setting out three current justification schemes for paternalistic action in law or medicine (those provided by Dworkin, Gert and Regan), the author argues that even in the case of attempted suicide, continuing paternalistic intervention cannot be justified. The defenses of paternalism can at best provide grounds for temporary intervention when there is prima facie evidence that the agent’s action is inconsistent with that agent’s self-interest. But once there is evidence that the coercee is aware of the serious harm but has rationally decided to continue with the suicide acts, the standard defenses of paternalism fail to provide grounds for continuing coercion.