American Journal of Bioethics 19 (5):48-59 (2019)

Bart Engelen
Tilburg University
Health-promoting nudges have been put into practice by different agents, in different contexts and with different aims. This article formulates a set of criteria that enables a thorough ethical evaluation of such nudges. As such, it bridges the gap between the abstract, theoretical debates among academics and the actual behavioral interventions being implemented in practice. The criteria are derived from arguments against nudges, which allegedly disrespect nudgees, as these would impose values on nudgees and/or violate their rationality and autonomy. Instead of interpreting these objections as knock-down arguments, I take them as expressing legitimate worries that can often be addressed. I analyze six prototypical nudge cases, such as Google’s rearrangement of fridges and the use of defaults in organ donation registration. I show how the ethical criteria listed are satisfied by most—but not all—nudges in most—but not all—circumstances.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/15265161.2019.1588411
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,703
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Debate: To Nudge or Not to Nudge.Daniel M. Hausman & Brynn Welch - 2010 - Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (1):123-136.
Salvaging the Concept of Nudge: Table 1.Yashar Saghai - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):487-493.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Nudge Toward Meaningful Choice.Leah R. Fowler & Jessica L. Roberts - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (5):76-78.
When Going Beyond Gentle Nudges Is Legitimate.Audrey R. Chapman - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (5):68-69.
Are Corporations Nudging the Nudgers?Jonathan H. Marks - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (5):70-72.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Ethics of Public Health Nudges.Yashar Saghai - 2012 - Dissertation, Georgetown University
When Consent is Unbearable: An Alternative Case Analysis.G. J. Agich - 1979 - Journal of Medical Ethics 5 (1):26-28.
Individual Autonomy and State Involvement in Health Care.T. Rice - 2001 - Journal of Medical Ethics 27 (4):240-244.


Added to PP index

Total views
25 ( #443,799 of 2,462,531 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #223,367 of 2,462,531 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes