Nudges, Nudging, and Self-Guidance Under the Influence

Ergo 9 (44):1199-1232 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Nudging works through dispositions to decide with specific heuristics, and has three component parts. A nudge is a feature of an environment that enables such a disposition; a person is nudged when such a disposition is triggered; and a person performs a nudged action when such a disposition manifests in action. This analysis clarifies an autonomy-based worry about nudging as used in public policy or for private profit: that a person’s ability to reason well is undermined when she is nudged. Reasoning well is a component of self-guidance, which is an aspect of autonomy and so something there is reason to promote, preserve, or respect. However, a person can reason well when she is nudged: Many of these heuristics are good rules to reason with, and she can be flexible with respect to them when she takes there to be a better way to reason. Along the way, this paper uncovers several design specifications for responsible nudging, and discusses open empirical questions. However, nudging’s being compatible with reasoning well crystallizes a distinct worry about manipulation: that nudge designers can rely on nudged people guiding themselves toward the designers’ own ends. Manipulation of this sort exploits one aspect of autonomy (namely, self-guidance) to undermine autonomy in other respects.

Similar books and articles

Autonomy, nudging and post-truth politics.Geoff Keeling - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (10):721-722.
Irresistible Nudges, Inevitable Nudges, and the Freedom to Choose.Jens Kipper - forthcoming - Moral Philosophy and Politics (2):285-303.
The Ethics and Applications of Nudges.Valerie Joly Chock - 2020 - PANDION: The Osprey Journal of Research and Ideas 1 (2).
The Moral Permissibility of Nudges.Valerie Joly Chock - 2020 - Florida Philosophical Review 19 (1):33-47.
Nudging for Liberals.Andrés Moles - 2015 - Social Theory and Practice 41 (4):644-667.
Nudging in Donation Policies: Registration and Decision-Making.Douglas MacKay & Katherine Saylor - 2021 - In Solveig Lena Hansen & Silke Schicktanz (eds.), Ethical Challenges of Organ Transplantation. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. pp. 65-80.
Do No Harm: Notes on The Ethical Use of Nudges.Valerie Joly Chock - 2021 - Journal of Design Strategies 10 (1):86-99.
Nudging, Transparency, and Watchfulness.Viktor Ivanković & Bart Engelen - 2019 - Social Theory and Practice 45 (1):43-73.
Nudging in interpersonal contexts.Yashar Saghai - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics 13 (6):33-34.


Added to PP

166 (#97,696)

6 months
113 (#17,981)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

W. Jared Parmer
RWTH Aachen University

Citations of this work

Predicting and Preferring.Nathaniel Sharadin - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

Add more citations

References found in this work

.Daniel Kahneman & Shane Frederick - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Free agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
What is inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.
What is Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):167-196.

View all 48 references / Add more references