Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 481–494 | Cite as

Social Nudges: Their Mechanisms and Justification

Article

Abstract

In this paper I argue that the use of social nudges, policy interventions to induce voluntary cooperation in social dilemma situations, can be defended against two ethical objections which I call objections from coherence and autonomy. Specifically I argue that the kind of preference change caused by social nudges is not a threat to agents’ coherent preference structure, and that there is a way in which social nudges influence behavior while respecting agents’ capacity to reason. I base my arguments on two mechanistic explanations of social nudges; the expectation-based and frame-based accounts. As a concrete example of social nudges I choose the “Don’t Mess With Texas” anti-littering campaign and discuss in some detail how it worked.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TINT, Social and Moral Philosophy/Department of Political and Economic StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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