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Lying and nudging
  1. Gerald Dworkin
  1. Correspondence to Professor Gerald Dworkin, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; gdworkin{at}

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Salvaging the Concept of Nudge 1 makes a number of good points about how the concept of a nudge should be understood, and a number of important distinctions in specifying more precisely the important idea of freedom of choice. As Saghai suggests, this is a first cut, and more work needs to be done in clarifying the issues so as to make the idea of a nudge a useful tool for policy purposes.

In this Commentary, I want to explore some of the difficulties that remain in getting a clear understanding of the ideas used to clarify the idea of freedom of choice, in particular, the idea that some influences are easily resistible and some are not. In particular, I am interested in the use of various deceptive modes such as lying, failure to disclose and misleading utterances. I believe that there is an important ambiguity in thinking about these deceptive modes which throws some doubt on the adequacy of the idea of resistibility.

The key definitions are the following:

Substantial Non-control: A's influence to get B to α is substantially non-controlling when B could easily not α if she did not want to α.

Easy resistibility: A's influence is easily resistible if B is able to effortlessly oppose the …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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