Category Archives: Cass Sunstein

Cass Sunstein

Foot, Thomson, and Edmonds go wrong by treating our moral intuitions about exotic dilemmas not as questionable byproducts of a generally desirable moral rule, but as carrying independent authority and as worthy of independent respect. And on this view, the enterprise of doing philosophy by reference to such dilemmas is inadvertently replicating the early work of Kahneman and Tversky, by uncovering unfamiliar situations in which our intuitions, normally quite sensible, turn out to misfire. The irony is that where Kahneman and Tversky meant to devise problems that would demonstrate the misfiring, some philosophers have developed their cases with the conviction that the intuitions are entitled to a great deal of weight, and should inform our judgments about what morality requires. A legitimate question is whether an appreciation of the work of Kahneman, Tversky, and their successors might lead people to reconsider their intuitions, even in the moral domain.

Cass Sunstein, ‘How Do We Know What’s Moral?’, New York Review of Books, April 24, 2014

Stephen Holmes and Cass Sunstein

The most ardent antigovernment libertarian tacitly accepts his own dependency on government, even while rhetorically denouncing signs of dependency in others. This double-think is the core of the American libertarian stance. Those who propagate a libertarian philosophy–such as Robert Nozick, Charles Murray, and Richard Epstein–speak fondly of the “minimal state.” But describing a political system that is genuinely capable of representing force and fraud as “minimal” is to suggest, against all historical evidence, that such a system is easy to achieve and maintain.

Stephen Holmes and Cass Sunstein, The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes, New York, 1999, p. 64