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Strings AttachedUntangling the Ethics of Incentives$
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Ruth W. Grant

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151601

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151601.001.0001

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Beyond Voluntariness

Beyond Voluntariness

(p.123) Chapter Seven Beyond Voluntariness
Strings Attached

Ruth W. Grant

Princeton University Press

This chapter returns to the contrast between treating incentives simply as a form of trade and treating incentives as a form of power. The problem with the “trade” approach is that it tends to focus on voluntariness as the only important ethical issue to consider. To increase a person's choices always seems to be a good thing, but it does not settle every ethical question. The chapter identifies two conceptions of voluntariness: Voluntariness I (choice) and Voluntariness II (autonomy). Voluntariness I is a standard that can be met so long as the incentive is not coercive. Voluntariness II is a more demanding requirement that leads to considering—and criticizing— manipulative, exploitive, paternalistic, and seductive offers as well.

Keywords:   incentives, voluntariness, trade, power, choice, autonomy

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