Nudge Impact On Individual Autonomy

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Would the introduction of nudge impact negatively on individual autonomy? As a relatively new policy concept there have been numerous issues raised around nudge, in this essay the author will focus on one particular area of concern namely autonomy. The process of nudge is often seen to be linked with a reduction of autonomy and throughout this essay the author aims to examine and dispel this fear. To understand the root of this fear the author will begin by defining autonomy and highlighting its importance in decision making. The author will then look to define nudge and the necessary factors differentiating nudge from manipulation and coercion. An exploration of the possible relationships between nudge and autonomy will be undertaken by…show more content…
As it is such an important term it is necessary when evaluating the ethics of nudge to first look at it’s impact on our autonomy. In order to discuss whether or not nudge reduces our autonomy, it is important that we first understand what is meant by this term. As a highly contested topic within philosophical spheres there is no one accepted definition across the board. Mills (2013, p.30) offers an idea of what autonomy is based around; “the individual's capacity for self control, reflective authenticity, and their independence from coercive or manipulative influences”. The key area of concern around autonomy is in our decision making, as this is where our autonomy is most often recognised and acted upon. Felsen et al. suggest that there are three key conditions necessary for a decision to be considered…show more content…
2013, p.207) Public support for nudge therefore lies in the relationship between it and autonomy, and as such; There is an inevitable tension between the respect for autonomy and the potentially beneficial outcomes for both the individual and society of improved decisions. (Felsen et al. 2013, p.203) The definition of autonomy used for the purpose of this essay refers to three key conditions necessary for an autonomous decision. It has been suggested that the decisional enhancement could affect these processes, in particular the third condition that a decision must be made free from covert influences (Felsen et al 2031, p.203). However, it has also been suggested that While they plainly violate the third condition and therefore infringe upon autonomy, they may also be seen to enhance autonomy by increasing the likelihood of a decision aligned with the first condition, their higher order desires. (Felsen et al 2013, p.203) As it is such a key concept the relationship between autonomy and nudge needs to be explored in further detail, and whether it infringes or enhances individual autonomy will be discussed further throughout this

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