Res Publica

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 513–522 | Cite as

Rational Persuasion, Paternalism, and Respect



In ‘Rational Persuasion as Paternalism', George Tsai argues that providing another person with reasons or evidence (even good reasons or evidence) can be a morally objectionable form of paternalism. I believe Tsai’s thesis is importantly correct, denying the widely accepted identification of rational persuasion with respectful treatment. In this comment, I disagree about what is centrally wrong with objectionable rational persuasion. Contrary to Tsai, objectionable rational persuasion is not wrong because it undermines the value of an agent’s life. It is wrong because it is contrary to an agent’s will.


Paternalism Respect Autonomy Wrongdoing George Tsai 



For helpful comments and discussion, I would like to thank Olivia Bailey, Eric Beerbohm, Christine Korsgaard, Kelly Patterson, T. M. Scanlon, an anonymous referee, and audiences at Brigham Young University and the Graduate Moral Philosophy Workshop at Harvard University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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