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Moral Satisficing: Rethinking Moral Behavior as Bounded Rationality

Gerd Gigerenzer

in Heuristics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744282
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894727 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.003.0009
Moral Satisficing: Rethinking Moral Behavior as Bounded Rationality

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What is the nature of moral behavior? According to the study of bounded rationality, it results not from character traits or rational deliberation alone, but from the interplay between mind and environment. In this view, moral behavior is based on pragmatic social heuristics rather than moral rules or maximization principles. These social heuristics are not good or bad per se, but solely in relation to the environments in which they are used. This has methodological implications for the study of morality: behavior needs to be studied in social groups as well as in isolation, in natural environments as well as in labs. It also has implications for moral policy: Only by accepting the fact that behavior is a function of both mind and environmental structures can realistic prescriptive means of achieving moral goals be developed.

Keywords: heuristics and biases; fast-and-frugal heuristics; similarity; representative design; base-rate neglect; Bayesian inference

Chapter.  11904 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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