Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1938460
 
 

References (134)



 
 

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The Costs and Benefits of Calculation and Moral Rules


Will M. Bennis


Northwestern University

Douglas L. Medin


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Daniel M. Bartels


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

2010

Perspectives on Psychological Science Vol. 5, pp. 187-202, 2010

Abstract:     
There has been a recent upsurge of research on moral judgment and decision making. One important issue with this body of work concerns the relative advantages of calculating costs and benefits versus adherence to moral rules. The general tenor of recent research suggests that adherence to moral rules is associated with systematic biases and that systematic cost-benefit analysis is a normatively superior decision strategy. This article queries both the merits of cost-benefit analyses and the shortcomings of moral rules. We argue that outside the very narrow domain in which consequences can be unambiguously anticipated, it is not at all clear that calculation processes optimize outcomes. In addition, there are good reasons to believe that following moral rules can lead to superior consequences in certain contexts. More generally, different modes of decision making can be seen as adaptations to particular environments.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: decision-making processes, cost-benefit analysis, moral rules, moral values, domain specificity

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Date posted: October 5, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Bennis, Will M. and Medin, Douglas L. and Bartels, Daniel M., The Costs and Benefits of Calculation and Moral Rules (2010). Perspectives on Psychological Science Vol. 5, pp. 187-202, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1938460

Contact Information

Will M. Bennis
Northwestern University ( email )
2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
Douglas L. Medin
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Daniel M. Bartels (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
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