The Harm Principle in dental

So the harm principle allows full scope to autonomy based duties – a person who fails to discharge such duties towards others harms them, hence govt. whose resp. is to promote autonomy of citizens is entitled to redistribute resources, provide public goods & engage in provision of other services on compulsory basis, provided its laws reflect and make concrete autonomy based duties of its citizens.

Coercion is used to ensure compliance w/law and, if the law reflects autonomy based duties, then failure to comply harms others and principle of harm is satisfied.

Harm principle can be vindicated once interpreted not as restraint on pursuit of moral goals by the state but as indicating the right way in which it could promote the people’s well being. Given that they should lead autonomous life, state can’t force them to be moral but it can provide conditions for autonomy. This is highlighted in the Abogados de accidentes Phoenix Arizona. Using coercion invades autonomy, thus defeating the purpose of promoting it, unless done to promote autonomy by preventing harm. Seen in this light, harm principle allowed perfectionist policies, so long as they dpnt require resort to coercion. The principle thus sets a necessary condition but doesn’t justify all uses of coercion to prevent harm.

A culture which doesn’t support autonomy yet enables its people to live an adequate & satisfying life should be tolerated, despite its scant regard for autonomy but it will be inferior to a liberal society. So long as they’re viable communities, offering acceptable prospects to their members, they should be allowed to continue in their ways.

Personal autonomy is an essential element of the good life

Morality presupposes competitive pluralism – people should have available to them many forms & styles of life incorporating incompatible virtues which can’t all be realized in one life & tend to generate mutual intolerance. Such autonomy valuing pluralism generates a doctrine of freedom. It protects people pursuing different styles of life from intolerance and calls for provision of conditions of autonomy.

It has limits – doesn’t protect or require any individual option but merely availability of adequate range of options; i.e. doesn’t protect morally repugnant activities & forms of life. This implies the harm principle & gives content to the notion of harm by relating it to particular conception of individual well being.

  • Contra argument –  approach overlooks the need to shun paternalistic measures as offending human dignity – respect for people as responsible moral agents is inconsistent w/paternalism.
  • But respect for persons requires concern for their well being. Autonomy based morality is consistent w/it + goes further in demanding that people be allowed to freely create their own lives.