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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 41, Issue 4, October 2015

Preference, Choice, and (Libertarian) Paternalism

Andrés Moles
Pages 644-667
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201541435

Nudging for Liberals

In this article I argue that anti-perfectionist liberals can accept nudging in certain areas: in particular, they can accept nudges aimed at helping people to discharge their nonenforceable duties, and to secure personal autonomy. I claim that nudging is not disrespectful since it does not involve a comparative negative judgment on people’s ability to pursue their plans, and that the judgments that motivate nudging are compatible with treating citizens as free and equal. I also claim that despite being sometimes manipulative, nudging is easy to resist and so it can be employed to pursue legitimate goals.