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March 2017

Bart Engelen (Tilburg): “Nudging and Rationality”

1 March, 5:30 pm7:00 pm

The literature on nudging has rekindled normative and conceptual debates surrounding both the aims liberal and democratic governments can aim for and the means they can employ. An oft-heard criticism is that nudging governments, by exploiting people’s psychological mechanisms, manipulate them and insufficiently respect their rational decision-making capacities. Bypassing and/or perverting people’s rational capacities, nudges are said to undermine agency. In this paper, I analyze and deflate these criticisms. After disentangling the different conceptions of rationality that pervade the arguments of both nudging enthusiasts and critics, I critically assess to what extent different nudging techniques can be said to undermine, pervert, bypass or strengthen people’s rationality in the different meanings of that notion. Only in a limited set of cases, I will argue, does it make sense to criticize nudges for making people less rational than they are, can and should be. Crucial in this respect will be the distinction between (different versions of) outcome-rationality and process-rationality.

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LSE PhD Student Session: Todd Karhu & Philippe van Basshuysen

8 March, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstracts: TBC   #LSEChoiceGroup

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Yitzhak Benbaji (Tel Aviv University): “Civilian Immunity without the Doctrine of Double Effect”

15 March, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: TBC Yitzhak Benbaji is a professor of philosophy at Tel-Aviv University's Law Faculty   #LSEChoiceGroup

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Ben Groom (LSE): “Discounting the Future: Comparing Expert Views of Economists and Philosophers”

22 March, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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This paper will compare expert views from economics and philosophy across the different quantitative measures on individual determinants of the SDR. This will allow drawing conclusions on how representative those economic experts with policy influence are. Besides these quantitative analyses, we will put a specific focus on comparing the qualitative issues raised by both experts groups, which may point in important directions where scientific research on discounting may be undertaken in the future and policy might have to be revised.

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