On the Supposed Evidence for Libertarian Paternalism

Gigerenzer, G. (2015). On the Supposed Evidence for Libertarian Paternalism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1-23.

Abstract: Can the general public learn to deal with risk and uncertainty, or do authorities need to steer people’s choices in the right direction? Libertarian paternalists argue that results from psychological research show that our reasoning is systematically flawed and that we are hardly educable because our cognitive biases resemble stable visual illusions. For that reason, they maintain, authorities who know what is best for us need to step in and steer our behavior with the help of “nudges.” Nudges are nothing new, but justifying them on the basis of a latent irrationality is. In this article, I analyze the scientific evidence presented for such a justification. It suffers from narrow logical norms, that is, a misunderstanding of the nature of rational thinking, and from a confirmation bias, that is, selective reporting of research. These two flaws focus the blame on individuals’ minds rather than on external causes, such as industries that spend billions to nudge people into unhealthy behavior. I conclude that the claim that we are hardly educable lacks evidence and forecloses the true alternative to nudging: teaching people to become risk savvy.

Read the article: Gigerenzer, G. (2015). On the Supposed Evidence for Libertarian Paternalism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1-23.



(Something interesting I found)Posted:May 01 2015, 12:00 AM by jlmatelski
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