Joel Anderson, born in Sacramento, California, USA, in 1965. Ph.D. from Northwestern University, Evanston. University Lecturer in Philosophy at Utrecht University.
Fellow (1 September 2010 – 30 June 2011)
The Politics of Human Irrationality
The year at the NIAS has proven absolutely pivotal for my research in providing the opportunity to integrate several lines of research. I have drafted most of a book entitled Autonomy Gaps, and authored or co-authored 8 papers dealing with four aspects of what I term the “political of human irrationality”: an analysis of complex issues raised by individuals whose capacity for competent decision-making is disputed or liminal (such as children or those with cognitive disabilities); a critical diagnosis of how public policies unjustly impose overwhelming burdens of self-management on individuals (“autonomy gaps”); an exploration of the possibilities for narrowing or ameliorating these autonomy gaps by providing various forms of assistance or “scaffolding” (including online “voting advice applications”); and an investigation of how to scaffolding can avoid sliding into paternalism (even “nudge paternalism”). The combination of excellent facilities, inspiring conversations with other Fellows, and the unfettered freedom to pursue my research made for a remarkably productive and enjoyable year.