MT23 Week 8 Practical Ethics and Law Lecture

How Nudging Upsets Autonomy

SpeakerProfessor David Enoch (Professor of the Philosophy of Law, University of Oxford)

A hybrid event for Uehiro Centre Members and Associates (booking not required).

Abstract: Everyone suspects – perhaps knows, but at least suspects – that nudging offends against the nudged’s autonomy. But it has proved rather difficult to say why. In this paper I offer a new diagnosis of the tension between even the best cases of nudging and the value of autonomy. If true, this diagnosis improves our understanding of nudging, of course, but it also improves our understanding of the value of autonomy. Relying on the distinction between autonomy as sovereignty and autonomy as non-alienation, I show that nudging need not offend against either. But it does sever the tie between them, the possibility of achieving non-alienation *in virtue* of having sovereignty. Analogies to common themes in virtue epistemology help to establish this point.

Respondent: Professor Tom Douglas (Professor of Applied Philosophy, University of Oxford)


In-person attendance only: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Suite 1 Seminar Area, Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe’s Street, Oxford OX1 1PT (buzzer 1)