Experts discuss the ethics of ‘nudging’ to promote behavioural change

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Internationally-renowned experts from a range of fields met at the University of Stirling to discuss the ethics of ‘nudging’ – a method used to promote behavioural change.

Economists, psychologists, philosophers and computer scientists were joined by policymakers, including representatives from the Scottish Government, at a workshop to discuss the ethical issues related to behavioural interventions.

They also looked at the various approaches researchers in different fields take when dealing with distinctively ethical issues.

The workshop, Applied Ethics of Nudging, was organised by Dr Philip Ebert, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, and Dr Conny Wollbrant, Associate Professor in Economics, at Stirling.

“Governments, businesses and policymakers harness the power of nudging to initiate behavioural change,” said Dr Ebert. “Our interdisciplinary workshop, with international speakers from philosophy and economics, highlighted and discussed hugely important ethical issues that arise when using nudges in a number of different contexts.”

The speakers included Amanda Cawston, from the University of Tilburg in The Netherlands, who spoke on the topic of "Nudging Children", Liam Delaney and Leo Lades, from University College Dublin, who presented an “Ethical Toolkit for Behavioural Public Policy”, and Luc Bovens, of the University of North Carolina, who spoke about “Nudge and Charitable Giving”.

The event was sponsored by the University of Stirling and the Scots Philosophical Association.


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