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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Philosophers’ Biased Judgments Persist Despite Training, Expertise and Reflection

By Eric Schwitzgebel and Fiery Cushman
In press


We examined the effects of framing and order of presentation on professional philosophers’
judgments about a moral puzzle case (the “trolley problem”) and a version of the Tversky &
Kahneman “Asian disease” scenario. Professional philosophers exhibited substantial framing
effects and order effects, and were no less subject to such effects than was a comparison group of
non-philosopher academic participants. Framing and order effects were not reduced by a forced
delay during which participants were encouraged to consider “different variants of the scenario
or different ways of describing the case”. Nor were framing and order effects lower among
participants reporting familiarity with the trolley problem or with loss-aversion framing effects,
nor among those reporting having had a stable opinion on the issues before participating the
experiment, nor among those reporting expertise on the very issues in question. Thus, for these
scenario types, neither framing effects nor order effects appear to be reduced even by high levels
of academic expertise.

The entire article is here.