Boolean logic

Is right and wrong a matter of facts?

Moral decision making should not be a matter of personal preference. But is reasoning about facts all that is needed to determine what is morally right or wrong?

Koen Smets
7 min readMay 24, 2024

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Good decision making is widely considered to be based on (or informed by) evidence — at least, the name of the course I have the pleasure and honour to teach twice a year goes by a title that asserts the importance of doing so. While the role of evidence might sound, well, kind of self-evident, it turns out we don’t always recognize it as such in our decision making. The emphasis placed on evidence — on facts — for good decision making stems principally from the fact that it is sometimes neglected. In other words, more attention to facts and evidence should lead to better decision making.

That does not mean that we can ascertain good decision making from the choice that was made alone. One reason is that different people have different preferences. Which evidence is material to a decision, and in what way, depends on the decision maker. A couple shopping for a vehicle to transport them and their three children will look for different elements of evidence and interpret it differently, compared to a single person looking for a sporty two-seater. A good choice for one would be a terrible one…

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Koen Smets

Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius