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Moral Heuristics

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School

March 2003

U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 180

With respect to questions of fact, people use heuristics - mental short-cuts, or rules of thumb, that generally work well, but that also lead to systematic errors. People use moral heuristics too - moral short-cuts, or rules of thumb, that lead to mistaken and even absurd moral judgments. These judgments are highly relevant to law and politics. Examples are given from a number of domains, with an emphasis on appropriate punishment. Moral framing effects are discussed as well.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: rules of thumb, moral judgments

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Date posted: March 17, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., Moral Heuristics (March 2003). U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 180. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=387941 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.387941

Contact Information

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)
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