This article investigates the foundation of the concept of nudge from the perspective
of the new mechanical philosophy. The research program on nudges
has always underappreciated the role of mechanistic explanation, favoring an
evidence-based approach. We propose a taxonomy for the different objectives
of a mechanistic explanation of nudges with three main categories: stability,
legitimacy, and development. Then, capitalizing on this epistemological framework,
we analyze the theory of nudge as affordance (Motterlini, Perini, 2020b).
This theory provides an explanation of the efficacy of nudges by postulating the
involvement of the parieto-frontal network responsible for affordance perception.
Here we expose the main epistemic advantages of this model, consisting
mainly in its contribution to the ethics of nudging and its heuristic potential
for the development of new research hypotheses and real-world applications.
Keywords: nudge, new mechanical philosophy, affordance.