Public Health Ethics 10 (3):257-266 (2017)

It is generally wrong to manipulate. One leading reason is because manipulation interferes with autonomy, in particular the component of autonomy called ‘independence’, that is, freedom from intentional control by others. Manipulative health promotion would therefore seem wrong. However, manipulative techniques could be used to counter-manipulation, for example, playing on male fears of impotence to counter ‘smoking is sexy’ advertisements. What difference does it make to the ethics of manipulation when it is counter-manipulation? This article distinguishes two powerful defences of counter-manipulative health promotion: that the counter-manipulation would prevent manipulation occurring, leaving people unmanipulated; and that the counter-manipulation would make people healthier without being any more manipulated than they would otherwise be. The article explains how counter-manipulation might work and the limits to its scope. The upshot is that counter-manipulative health promotion could respect the independence people are owed in virtue of their autonomy. However, autonomy is not the only consideration, and the article discusses further potential problems. Counter-manipulative health promotion might be misapplied, it might undermine trust, it might infringe on some norms for role behaviour and it might encourage a regrettable social practice. These objections are likely to be decisive against the counter-manipulation in some but not all cases.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/phe/phw044
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: 71,355
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

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
The morality of freedom.J. Raz - 1988 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (1):108-109.
Debate: To Nudge or Not to Nudge.Daniel M. Hausman & Brynn Welch - 2010 - Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (1):123-136.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Analysis of Interpersonal Manipulation.M. Kligman & C. M. Culver - 1992 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (2):173-197.
Attacking the Bounds of Cognition.Richard Menary - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (3):329-344.
What’s Wrong with Motive Manipulation?Eric M. Cave - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2):129-144.
Mass Atrocity and Manipulation of Social Norms.Paul Morrow - 2014 - Social Theory and Practice 40 (2):255-280.
Manipulation and Mitigation.Andrew C. Khoury - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):283-294.
Philosophy of Media Manipulation in the Globalization Era: Options for Countering.Vihren Bouzov - 2016 - In Hristo Hristov & Milen Marinova (eds.), Practical Philosophy: Thematic Collective Books. Veliko Turnovo: St. Cyril and St. Methodius University Press. pp. 9-16.
A Maneuver Around the Modified Manipulation Argument.Hannah Tierney - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):753-763.
Towards a Theory of Interpersonal Manipulation.Moti Gorin - 2014 - In Michael Weber Christian Coons (ed.), Manipulation: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
26 ( #441,389 of 2,519,515 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #271,332 of 2,519,515 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes