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The Australian National University

Seminar talk: Moral Judgments on Risk and Moral Heuristics

You are invited to a seminar talk at the ANU Research School of Psychology:

Date and Time: Friday 1st July, 2:00pm - 3:00 pm
Location:  Peter Baume Building (42a), Room 2.01
Presenter: Fei Song, Department of Philosophy, The University of Hong Kong


The relevant literature has only recently started to investigate the possibility that in the moral domain, people may also rely on rules of thumb or so-called “moral heuristics” that often works well but sometimes lead to moral errors in some circumstances (Baron, 1994, 1998). One of my major goals in this talk is to apply the idea of “moral heuristic” to the study of moral judgments, in particular, moral judgments on risk impositions. There is a growing interest in moral philosophy about the normativity of risk imposition and risk regulations that if we are permitted to conduct certain actions which would impose a risk of harm on others. To the extent that Kaheman and Tversky were dealing with probability judgments, they demonstrated that the heuristics sometimes lead to errors (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). However, it is not easy to demonstrate that in the domain of moral judgments such that it is hard to come up with an unambiguous case where facts or simply logic provides a good test whether people have erred. Besides, so far no consensus has been made in normative ethics that which normative theory is the correct theory to which our judgments can refer. But I argue that it is prima facie very plausible the claim that moral heuristics exist in moral judgments and indeed adversely affecting both individual and social reactions to risk impositions.


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