Fast, Frugal, and (Sometimes) Wrong

U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 265

U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 110

COGNITIVE SCIENCE OF MORALITY, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, ed., Forthcoming

10 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2005

See all articles by Cass R. Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Abstract

Do moral heuristics operate in the moral domain? If so, do they lead to moral errors? This brief essay offers an affirmative answer to both questions. In so doing, it responds to an essay by Gerd Gigerenzer on the nature of heuristics, moral and otherwise. While focused on morality, the discussion bears on the general debate between those who emphasize cognitive errors, sometimes produced by heuristics, and those who emphasize the frequent success of heuristics in producing sensible judgments in the real world. General claims are that it is contentious to see moral problems as ones of arithmetic, and that arguments about moral heuristics will often do well to steer clear of contentious arguments about what morality requires.

Keywords: moral errors, Gerd Gigernezer, heuristics, morality

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., Fast, Frugal, and (Sometimes) Wrong. THE COGNITIVE SCIENCE OF MORALITY, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, ed., Forthcoming; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 110; COGNITIVE SCIENCE OF MORALITY, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, ed., Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=844964

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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