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Philosophical Problems in the Contemporary World

Edited By Dilek Arlı Çil and Nihal Petek Boyaci

The social and technological developments, social movements, scientific discoveries, economic growth or diseconomies give rise to many problems for human beings. Many disciplines such as economics, political science, architecture, sociology and psychology discuss these problems and offer solutions from different perspectives. Philosophy has its own way of dealing with these problems. As opposed to the common belief, philosophy does not only deal with ideals independently of what is going on in real life. The problems of the contemporary philosophy are also the problems of the contemporary world. For this reason, this book aims to present and discuss certain philosophical problems in the contemporary world and to suggest solutions to them.

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Can the Study of Heuristics be Adopted in Ethics?

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Introduction

The study of heuristics is a theory which argues that there are some practical guidelines, determined through the combination of mental and environmental conditions, that lead us to action. It analyzes how people make decisions and judgments in complex conditions with time and information constraints considering the interplay between mind and environment. In 1974, Tversky and Kahneman argued that there is a limited number of heuristic principles which are used to assess probabilities and predict values in a simpler way. Heuristics reduce the complex tasks to simpler judgmental operations (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974: 1124). Thus, they are used to simplify the decision-making process.

The study of heuristics has recently started to be discussed in ethics. Gigerenzer has argued that heuristics helps us to understand the nature of moral behavior and to modify it. He investigates the nature of human rationality and its effects on moral behavior in Rationality for Mortals (2001). Rationality, for him, is about choosing the required means to attain determined ends and heuristics function as the means which helps us to arrive those ends. Heuristics are combined in an adaptive toolbox. “The function of the adaptive toolbox is, thus, to provide strategies – cognitive, emotional, and social – that help to handle a multitude of goals by making decisions quickly, frugally, accurately, or, if possible, not at all” (Gigerenzer, 2001: 43). When we find ourselves in complex situations, we go to the adaptive toolbox and adopt the proper heuristics.

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