Talk:Libertarian paternalism

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2006 and 2008 commentsEdit

Talk:Soft paternalism

I want to distinguish between paternalism and "soft paternalism" so I think that theses

  1. Calcium fortification of orange juice.
  2. Folic acid addition to bread and cereal products.
  3. Smoking bans in public places.
  4. Fluoridation of water

are examples of paternalism - ie "But unlike “hard” paternalists, who ban some things and mandate others, the softer kind aim only to skew your decisions, without infringing greatly on your freedom of choice"

Since it would take way to long for people to discuss it then change it I will change it now--Mrebus 20:04, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

The SEP article on paternalism give a rather different notion of soft paternalism. Its example, which it attributes to Mill, is that if you can't communicate to someone that a bridge is damaged and would be dangerous to walk on (because you don't speak the person's language, say) then it is legitimate to forcibly prevent the person from using the bridge on the assumption that the person would make this choice himself if he knew of the danger. 22 December 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:53, 23 December 2008 (UTC)


The term "soft paternalism" has two main uses in academic contexts. 1) Interference with choice that is insufficiently voluntary to be genuine/autonomous (and possibly also interference to establish degree of voluntariness). This use is for example that of Joel Feinberg in Harm to Self, 1986, by many considered the greatest contemporary defender of Millian antipaternalism. It is also the use of most modern political philosophers. 2) Interference that is relatively mild or non-coercive. This is the use of most economists and laywers.

Libertarian paternalism is a rather new term (Thaler and Sunstein 2003) that is somewhat vague but arguably refers to the shaping of choice by design of choice situations that does not exclude or impose non-negligable costs on any alternative. This is a form of mild paternalism, though depending on the details the overlap may not be complete.

I would suggest moving most of the content of this page to a new entry on "Libertarian paternalism" and explain the above mixed usage on this page, then focus on the philosophical use of Feinberg because this is a very important matter - that of voluntarienss - in the modern philosohical debate on paternalism.

If this idea is found a good one, I can help with rewriting.

Filofil (talk) 10:28, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

As there has been no objection to my proposal in almost five months time, I have now gone ahead with some major changes to reflect my concerns above. Because two editors (User:Tom Morris and User:Aaron Booth ) felt that there was no need for a new entry on Libertarian Paternalism, I have accepted the existing situation that there is this entry on Soft Paternalism which really only deals with Libertarian Paternalism. I have explained this curiosity in the first sentence. In my mind, this entry should ideally be renamed "Libertarian Paternalism". Soft paternalism is appropriately explained in the entry on Paternalism and if someone wishes to expand on that (s)he could do so there or create a new article that is actually on soft rather than on libertarian paternalism. Indeed, I could myself provide an entry on Soft Paternalism (in Feinberg's sense) at some point, if the current name problem is resolved. I will leave this to someone with more Wikipedia clout, as I am a simple paternalism scholar. Filofil (talk) 10:58, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

This article, which I have come to multiple times with the aim of reading up on 'Libertarian Paternalism', and which seems to speak only of 'Libertarian Paternalism' should really have said title. This is my first time behind the veil of Wikipedia (as this irked me so much) so I'm not going to change it (at least not without signing up) but if someone with even a mote of experience would find it appropriate then please do. -Regards, your friendly neighborhood Libertarian Paternalist — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:22, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

See also - tax choiceEdit

I added tax choice to the see also section but it was removed without explanation. Are there any objections to adding it again? --Xerographica (talk) 00:23, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Re-add, and include a short note onto the WL that explains the connection to the main topic of the article. If someone removes, invoke WP:BRD.

Is there any relationship between "libertarian paternalism" and Libertarianism ?Edit

The term "libertarian paternalism" seems clearly unrelated to the political philosophy of Libertarianism. The link seems inappropriate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:49, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Move Article ProposalEdit

Soft paternalismLibertarian paternalism

I propose we move this article to Libertarian paternalism. It is more concise to refer to this article as such, since it doesn't deal specifically with soft paternalism, but rather libertarian paternalism. Then soft paternalism's article would link to Paternalism. I will give it a week, and if there are no comments I will use Wikipedia:Moving_a_page#How_to_move_a_page to move it. Frmorrison (talk) 19:16, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 4 March 2015Edit

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Unopposed request Number 57 14:05, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Soft paternalismLibertarian paternalism – It is more concise to refer to this article as Libertarian paternalism, since it doesn't deal specifically with soft paternalism. Soft paternalism is appropriately explained in the entry on Paternalism Frmorrison (talk) 00:46, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

New sectionEdit

Add a section titled origin and take that one sentence out of the summary. Generally, shorten the summary/into to that, a summary; leave surprising, unelaborated information for the body (but I guess refer to this surprising, unelaborated information in the article's thesis, which should in fact be in the intro/summary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:1C0:4A03:609E:C85:79E8:AA6F:E3CC (talk) 07:45, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Citation or explication!Edit

"Such policies are also asymmetric in the sense that they should be acceptable both to those who believe that people behave rationally and to those who believe that people often behave irrationally."

I think this, the last sentence of the intro, needs a citation. In my sleepy state, I think the statement is wrong because asymmetric is used differently in this sentence vs. the preceding sentence. Maybe the sentence should even be omitted, but I don't know enough about the source content to legitimately propose that; so someone please find a citation and/or expand on the information! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:1C0:4A03:609E:C85:79E8:AA6F:E3CC (talk) 07:54, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Relation to nudge theoryEdit

I am far from knowledgeable in this field, but I get the impression that this page might be merged with the page on nudge theory. I notice that nudge theory is not explicitly mentioned in the libertarian paternalism article, in spite of the fact that a number of nudge theory articles are cited in the reference list. Would someone knowledgeable in this area like to add a section on how nudge theory relates to this page, or even suggest a merge (if at all appropriate)?Jimjamjak (talk) 10:51, 18 January 2017 (UTC)