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Reading: Values in Policy Making: Pragmatic Subjectivism and Paternalism


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Values in Policy Making: Pragmatic Subjectivism and Paternalism


Chelsea Murtha

LSE, UK; George Washington University, US
About Chelsea
MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy (2015-2016). She holds a BA (Hons.) with a double major in Philosophy and Political Science from (2010-2014). Her main interests are in philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and ethics. She has a particular interest in paternalism and labour policy.
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In this essay I argue that in order to incorporate attributes and values into policy-making, government and policy-makers must adopt pragmatic subjectivism in situations where no stance is taken on the objectivity of people's conception of well-being, so that their concerns are addressed. This is necessary because construct validity is difficult to achieve when attempting to measure an objective notion of well-being. As a result, the state may use any conception of well-being provided it matches the conception of population affected by such policies. This could legitimize policies often contested as paternalistic, but only in circumstances where special attention is paid to incorporating values and attributes that are robust, subjective, and reason-grounding.

How to Cite: Murtha, C., 2016. Values in Policy Making: Pragmatic Subjectivism and Paternalism. Rerum Causae, 8(2), pp.18–26.
Published on 01 Jul 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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