Prudence and Formal Reasoning

In an earlier version of the Devettere text, when describing Prudence and Formal Reasoning, the author wrote that “ Understanding prudence as a natural decision-making process requiring virtue and practical expertise does not do away with all formal reasoning in ethical decision making. Prudence is not a science or geometry, nor is it calculating the advantages and disadvantages of as many options as possible, but if often benefits from some formal reasoning. Usually this formal reasoning occurs after the decision maker has identified a tentative decision.”

In the current edition, on page 57 of Devettere, the author cites Kahneman describing Prudence and Reasoning, where he acknowledges that many points in his approach to decision-making agree with those of Gary Klein’s recognition-primed decision model whereby a person with expertise first quickly sees a possible good choice (System 1, in Kahneman’s language) and then mentally plays it out to see if it will work.

Devettere notes that the work of Kahneman and Klein bears an almost uncanny resemblance to the prudential decision making in virtue ethics of Aristotle and Aquinas. Develop an example from another field (ex. medicine, nursing, public health, etc.), describing the entwined processes of Prudence and Formal Reasoning.

Sample Solution