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The Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law will welcome Professor Robert Noggle (Central Michigan University) to King's next month to deliver the first lecture of the 2023/24 Lecture Series in Practical Agency.



Getting Things Right: Manipulation and Rational Agency



It seems plausible that manipulation is detrimental to rational agency. But how, exactly, does manipulation affect rational agency? To answer this question, we must define manipulation. Thus, the paper begins by examining several prominent approaches to defining manipulation: those that define manipulation as influence that bypasses reason, those that define it as covert influence, and those that define it as tricking the target into adopting a faulty mental state. After arguing that each of these approaches is flawed, the paper lays out a new theory of manipulation, called the Mistake Account. This theory defines manipulation as influence that operates by inducing the target to make a mistake. This account in hand, the paper moves on to explore how manipulation affects rational agency. It argues against the common view that manipulation undermines autonomy. Instead, it argues that, by inducing mistakes, manipulation thwarts a fundamental goal of rational agents, namely the goal of getting things right.


Author Bio

Robert Noggle is Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University. He has written extensively on manipulation and the ethics of influence. His articles on that topic include “Manipulative Actions: A Conceptual and Moral Analysis” (American Philosophical Quarterly 1996), “Pressure, Trickery, and a Unified Account of Manipulation” (American Philosophical Quarterly, 2020), and “Manipulation, Salience, and Nudges (Bioethics 2018). He is the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on the ethics of manipulation, and an Oxford Research Encyclopedia article on manipulation in politics. He is currently finishing a draft of a book on manipulation. His other current philosophical interests include philosophical psychopathology, ethical issues related to children, and the limits of moral obligation. He has also written about personal autonomy, the non-identity problem, and desire-based theories of well-being.

At this event

Professor Massimo Renzo, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London.

Professor of Politics, Philosophy & Law

Event details

Room SW 1.17, The Dickson Poon School of Law, First Floor, Somerset House East Wing, King's College London, Strand WC2R 2LS
Strand Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS