Paternalistic deception

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Paternalistic deception is deception that is apparently performed for the deceived individual's own good by a person assuming a paternalistic role, whether they are their actual parent or not. It is intended to affect the body and feelings rather than behavior, attempting to interfere with the person's liberty of freedom for their own good.[1] It is justified by the good it attempts to produce towards the deceived individual's well being.[2]

An example of paternalistic deception would be a doctor telling a mother that her daughter is doing well, even though he knows that she is going to die. The doctor acted paternalistically to spare the mother's feelings without attempting to control her behavior or liberty of action.


  • If the deceived individual could judge, would they consent to being deceived? This leads those acting paternalistically to defend their actions against their deception that it was therefore in the deceived individual's best interest.
  • If the deceived individual discovers they have been lied to, problems may go unsolved and unnecessary resentments may linger, whether it was done in their best interest or not.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gert, Bernard; Culver, Charles M. (Autumn 1976). "Paternalistic Behavior". Philosophy and Public Affairs. Princeton University Press. 6 (1): 45–57. JSTOR 2265061. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Piker, Andy (22 February 2010). "Kant, Autonomy, and Paternalism". PHIL 3340. Texas A&M University. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Stanlick, Nancy. "Paternalistic Lies outline". University of Central Florida. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Carson, Thomas (2010). Lying and Deception: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199577415. 
  • Sartorius, Rolf (1984). Paternalism. University Of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816611744.