Choosing not to Choose: Autonomy, Paternalism, and Public Policy | University of Oxford

Choosing not to Choose: Autonomy, Paternalism, and Public Policy

Professor Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley Professor at Harvard University
13:00 - 14:15
Oxford University Centre for the Environment
off South Parks Road

Dyson Perrins Building, Gottmann Room

Lectures and seminars

Our ability to make choices is fundamental to our sense of ourselves as human beings, and essential to the political values of freedom-protecting nations. Whom we love; where we work; how we spend our time; what we buy; such choices define us in the eyes of ourselves and others, and much blood and ink has been spilt to establish and protect our rights to make them freely. Choice can also be a burden. Our cognitive capacity to research and make the best decisions is limited, so every active choice comes at a cost. In modern life the requirement to make active choices can often be overwhelming. So, across broad areas of our lives, from health plans to energy suppliers, many of us choose not to choose. In this lecture Prof Sunstein will present a complete argument for how we should understand the value of choice, and when and how we should enable people to choose not to choose.