Book Chapter

Policy-led Virtue Cultivation: Can we nudge citizens towards developing virtues?



Niker F (2018) Policy-led Virtue Cultivation: Can we nudge citizens towards developing virtues?. In: Harrison T & Walker DI (eds.) The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education. London: Routledge, pp. 153-167.

This chapter examines what role new behaviour-modification policies – commonly known as “nudges” – might play in cultivating virtues. At first sight, they would appear to be ruled out as a candidate means; but, by offering a more nuanced analysis, the chapter argues that some nudges have virtue-cultivating properties. It distinguishes between two kinds of nudges – 'automatic-behavioural' and 'discernment-developing' – and shows that what divides them is the ability of the latter, which the former lacks, to play an ecological-educative role in developing the virtue of practical reason, which is required for the other virtues too. It thus provides an answer to the question of whether virtue-cultivating nudges are possible, while remaining neutral on whether virtue cultivation is, or under what conditions it could be, a legitimate aim of liberal-democratic states.

virtue; education; nudge; morality

FundersUniversity of Warwick
Publication date31/12/2018
Publisher URL…ok/9780367371418
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Dr Fay Niker

Dr Fay Niker

Lecturer, Philosophy