The antipaternalist psychology of William James

Mario J. Rizzo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The purpose of this paper is to first review William James's explicit positions on paternalism in the context of medical licensure and the annexation of the Philippines. Then I wish to show that these positions, as well as a more generalized antipaternalist stance, are the implications of James's philosophy and psychology and not simply his 'personal' sentiments. The elements of James's thought are arranged in such a way as to facilitate a comparison with contemporary behavioral (heuristics and biases) paternalism. The conclusion is that James has arguments against behavioral paternalism avant la lettre that are still useful and deserve discussion.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalBehavioural Public Policy
    StateAccepted/In press - 2023


    • Jamesian psychology
    • paternalism
    • rationality
    • toleration

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Applied Psychology
    • Political Science and International Relations


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