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Coercion and planned culture: An investigation on behavioral sciences' alternatives for the regulation of life in society

Grant number: 18/10699-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2018
Effective date (End): November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Maria Helena Leite Hunziker
Grantee:Cesar Antonio Alves da Rocha
Home Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Initiatives for the regulation of life in society have generated discussions in the field of political philosophy for centuries. In this context, different proposals were inspired by different conceptions on human being. In recent years, an idea from the area of behavioral economics has gained increasing prominence: that is "libertarian paternalism", which proposes a revision of traditional paternalistic models, prescribing a form of regulation of life in society that would dispense with coercive strategies. The idea of regulating the organization of individuals in society without the use of coercion find roots in the thinking of B. F. Skinner and, more specifically, in his proposal called "cultural design". But it is not clear whether the concepts of coercion espoused by each of these propositions, libertarian paternalism and cultural design, are equivalent. Moreover, in both cases, such concepts proved to be involved in controversy, attracting criticism from different sources. Considering this, this project proposes a theoretical investigation that aims at elucidating the concepts of coercion espoused by these two behavioral proposals for the regulation of life in society. In order to achieve this general objective, three specific objectives are proposed: 1) A clarification on the perspective of individual proper of each approach; 2) an examination of a sample of controlling techniques; 3) An analysis of the justifications for deliberate control of behavior.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DA ROCHA, CESAR ANTONIO ALVES; HUNZIKER, MARIA HELENA LEITE. A Behavior-Analytic View on Nudges: Individual, Technique, and Ethics. BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL ISSUES, v. 29, n. 1, p. 138-161, NOV 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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