Appel à communication

There is already an important literature in cognitive sciences, neurosciences and experimental economics showing that agents may not take the best decisions with regard to their own interest or their well-being owing to various irrationality biases and inconsistencies. This opens the door to (public or private) interventions on the choice architecture. Such interventions should be legitimate insofar as they improve the decisions of agent without changing the options that are available to them.

The aim of the present conference is to focus more specifically on the nudges that may influence not merely occurrent decisions but the motivations or desires of agents in the long run. There may exist a number of reasons to help people to change their preferences or desires. They may rest on insufficient information or they may be incoherent. They may be socially inacceptable (racist preferences). People may regret having acted on them (the consumption of cigarettes, alimentary behaviors), etc.

However, conative nudges raise important problems of legitimacy insofar as they assume that well-being is not satisfaction of actual desires or preferences but instead satisfaction of idealized desires or preferences that we may call with philosophers their values. Economists are traditionally reluctant to such idealization of desires but if empirical works shows that revealed preferences lose their legitimacy, then philosophers and economists may come to have converging views. However, such views raise well-known questions concerning the legitimacy of liberal paternalism, and its superiority to more traditional form of paternalism or other forms of action aiming at the promotion of education or information. In the end, it may appear that only the later pay due respect to autonomy.

The aim of the conference is to gather researchers that focus on desires, the possibility and the rationality to change them, the means for doing so and the legitimacy of inducing this changes from all relevant perspectives, be there philosophical, economical, political or empirical.

Submission of abstract may tackle any of the foregoing empirical, experimental, conceptual, normative or political issues. Addressing some of the following questions may be especially relevant:

- Are desires stable mental states or do they depend on contextual factors?

- How nudge can change preferences and desires in the long run?

- What does it mean for desires to change?

- Can one change behavior without changing preferences?

- To what extent actual desires or preferences can be irrational?

- Is it possible to unify the different ways in which desires may count as irrational?

- Are nudge changing desires compatible with the respect for autonomy or any other normative constraint?

- To what extent people matter about being influenced by nudges?

- Which types of nudge and incentive mechanism help people to change their behavior and preferences in a desirable way?

- How does information affect desires?

- What kind of education may be efficient to change preferences and desires, or in the formation of desires?

- Can we compare the efficiency of education from nudging policies in changing desires?

We invite submission of abstracts of 500 words, prepared for blind review. The author’s name, paper title, institutional affiliation, and contact details should be included either in the email or in a separate covering letter.
Deadline for submission: 30th June 2016. We anticipate decisions by the end of July.
Please send your abstract and your contact information to Sophie Rabaux at this email address: <>
The conference fees for authors of accepted papers will be 100 euros. This will include the conference dinner, two lunches and coffee during the whole conference.
The conference is organized by the Philosophy department of the University of Rennes and the Centre de recherche en économie et management of the University of Rennes,

On behalf of the organizers of the conference :
Stéphane Lemaire (Philosophy dept)
Benoît Taroux (CREM)