Nudging, informed consent and bullshit

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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.

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