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  1. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (forthcoming). A Framework for Assessing the Moral Status of Manipulation,. In Christian Coons Michael Weber (ed.), Manipulation. Oxford University Press.
    This paper deals with the ethics of using knowledge about a person’s particular psychological make-up, or about the psychology of judgment and decision-making in general, to shape that person’s decisions and behaviors. Various moral concerns emerge about this practice, but one of the more elusive and underdeveloped concerns is the charge of manipulation. It is this concern that is the focus of this paper. I argue that it is not the case that any of the practices traditionally labeled as “manipulation” (...)
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  2. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (forthcoming). Psychiatry’s New Manual (DSM-5): Ethical and Conceptual Dimensions. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    The introduction of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 is being hailed as the biggest event in psychiatry in the last 10 years. In this paper I examine three important issues that arise from the new manual: (1) Expanding nosology: Psychiatry has again broadened its nosology to include human experiences not previously under its purview (eg, binge eating disorder, internet gaming disorder, caffeine use disorder, hoarding disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Consequencebased ethical concerns about this (...)
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  3. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2013). Choice Architecture: A Mechanism for Improving Decisions While Preserving Liberty. In Christian Coons Michael Weber (ed.), Paternalism: Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press.
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  4. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2013). Choice Architecture: Improving Choice While Preserving Liberty? In Christian Coons & Michael Weber (eds.), Paternalism. Cambridge University Press.
    The past four decades of research in the social sciences have shed light on two important phenomena. One is that human decision-making is full of predicable errors and biases that often lead individuals to make choices that defeat their own ends (i.e., the bad choice phenomenon), and the other is that individuals’ decisions and behaviors are powerfully shaped by their environment (i.e., the influence phenomenon). Some have argued that it is ethically defensible that the influence phenomenon be utilized to address (...)
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  5. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2013). On Nudging and Informed Consent: Four Key Undefended Premises. American Journal of Bioethics 13 (6):31 - 33.
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  6. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2012). Between Reason and Coercion: Ethically Permissible Influence in Health Care and Health Policy Contexts. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (4):345-366.
    In bioethics, the predominant categorization of various types of influence has been a tripartite classification of rational persuasion (meaning influence by reason and argument), coercion (meaning influence by irresistible threats—or on a few accounts, offers), and manipulation (meaning everything in between). The standard ethical analysis in bioethics has been that rational persuasion is always permissible, and coercion is almost always impermissible save a few cases such as imminent threat to self or others. However, many forms of influence fall into the (...)
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  7. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2012). Seeking Better Health Care Outcomes: The Ethics of Using the “Nudge”. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (2):1-10.
    Policymakers, employers, insurance companies, researchers, and health care providers have developed an increasing interest in using principles from behavioral economics and psychology to persuade people to change their health-related behaviors, lifestyles, and habits. In this article, we examine how principles from behavioral economics and psychology are being used to nudge people (the public, patients, or health care providers) toward particular decisions or behaviors related to health or health care, and we identify the ethically relevant dimensions that should be considered for (...)
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  8. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2011). On the Concept and Measure of Voluntariness: Insights From Behavioral Economics and Cognitive Science. American Journal of Bioethics 11 (8):25-26.
    In their article “The Concept of Voluntary Consent,” Robert Nelson and colleagues (2011) argue for two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for voluntary action: intentionality, and substantial freedom from controlling influences. They propose an instrument to empirically measure voluntariness, the Decision Making Control Instrument. I argue that (1) their conceptual analysis of intentionality and controlling influences needs expansion in light of the growing use of behavioral economics principles to change individual and public health behaviors (growing in part by the designation (...)
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  9. J. S. Swindell Blumenthal-Barby (2011). On the Utility and Distinctness of the Concept of Behavioral Equipoise. American Journal of Bioethics 11 (2):9-10.
    In their paper, “Behavioral Equipoise: A Way to Resolve Ethical Stalemates in Clinical Research, “ Peter Ubel and Robert Silbergleit (2011) propose that we adopt another principle, the principle of behavioral equipoise, whereby RCTs are also morally justified in cases where they are expected to address the controversy, disagreement, or behavioral resistance surrounding a particular treatment. Adopting this ethical standard would allow for research to move forward and, as a result, for the resolution of stalemates between clinicians who hold opposing (...)
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  10. Aaron Cardon & J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (2011). Should Repugnance Give Us Pause? On the Neuroscience of Daily Moral Reasoning. American Journal of Bioethics- Neuroscience 2 (2):47-48.
    In our commentary we briefly review the work on the neurological differences between the rational ethical analysis used in professional contexts and the reflexive emotional responses of our daily moral reasoning, and discuss the implications for the claim that our normative arguments should not rely on the emotion of repugnance.
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