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Nudging, informed consent and bullshit

Abstract

Some philosophers have argued that during the process of obtaining informed consent, physicians should try to nudge their patients towards consenting to the option the physician believes best, where a nudge is any influence that is expected to predictably alter a person’s behaviour without (substantively) restricting her options. Some proponents of nudging even argue that it is a necessary and unavoidable part of securing informed consent. Here I argue that nudging is incompatible with obtaining informed consent. I assume informed consent requires that a physician tells her patient the truth about her options and argue that nudging is incompatible with truth-telling. Instead, nudging satisfies Harry Frankfurt’s account of bullshit.

  • informed consent
  • truth disclosure
  • decision-making
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