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On the moral psychology of the pandemic agent

Jefferson, Anneli ORCID: and Bortolotti, Lisa 2023. On the moral psychology of the pandemic agent. Barbosa, Evandro, ed. Moral Challenges in a Pandemic Age, Routledge,
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What should rational agents who want to act morally do during a pandemic: think for themselves or follow expert advice? In threatening situations characterized by uncertainty and significant risks to themselves and others, agents have epistemic and psychological needs that influence their decisions and are vulnerable to biases affecting their estimation of risk. This chapter considers the need for certainty and the optimism bias among other relevant factors. The presence of these influences on decision making suggests that in a crisis, such as a pandemic, agents are not in the best position to make decisions without relying on expert advice and support. However, in situations such as the initial stages of the pandemic, political and scientific authorities disagree on the best course of action and their recommendations conflict. Moreover, political leaders and scientific experts facing an uncertain threat are not immune themselves from epistemic and psychological biases. This chapter argues that citizens should not bear the sole responsibility of making complex decisions and estimating risks, and should be able to access sources that are marked as epistemically credible. For this to happen, institutions such as governments and scientific communities need to put in place structural measures to avoid and counteract biased decision making

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: In Press
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781032315201
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 February 2023
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2023 11:30

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