It may be in some subfield of ethics, I guess. But I'm interested in knowing about protection: I mean, if we know someone who's doing something wrong with his/her life, what should we do? Intervene and try to help, or ignore because it's none of our businesses?

I'm looking for resources on this.

  • 1
    Are you really interested in philosophical perspectives, as opposed to medical/psychological/legal (more pragmatic) ones?
    – user3164
    Dec 11, 2013 at 19:47
  • 1
    Yes. Philosophical.
    – Red Banana
    Dec 11, 2013 at 20:25
  • Is there a specific type of issue you have in mind? This type of problem occurs in medical ethics. It's less likely to occur in standard moral theories. But in most cases there will need to be something going on that compromises the rights of selves to self-determination.
    – virmaior
    Mar 9, 2014 at 23:30
  • in philosophy and law (and some of the medical ethics literature i've seen) this issue is called "paternalism". that should help you narrow down your search a bit.
    – user5172
    Jul 29, 2014 at 15:12
  • this is a great subject but may i suggest a title change to something like "ethical study of protective intervention and responsibility" ?
    – amphibient
    Jun 6, 2017 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


John Stuart Mill's On Liberty is composed to address your question, when and when not to interfere the liberty of others, as an individual and as a society as a whole.

This BBC presentation is a great intro to the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9IM3ZKNMCk

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