How Nudging Upsets Autonomy
Speaker: David Enoch
Respondent: Thomas Douglas

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.
Date: 1 December 2023, 15:00 (Friday, 8th week, Michaelmas 2023)
Venue: Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe's Street OX1 1PT
Venue Details: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Suite 1
Speakers: Professor David Enoch (University of Oxford), Professor Thomas Douglas (Oxford)
Organising department: Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Organiser: Binesh Hass (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Binesh Hass (University of Oxford)
Part of: Practical Ethics and Law Lectures
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Rachel Gaminiratne