|Kahneman (centre) interviewed by Prof Zamir (left) and Prof Ritov (right)|
Kahneman's presentation was in the form of an interview by Prof. Eyal Zamir and Prof. Ilana Ritov (both of the Law Faculty at the Hebrew University) asking the questions. Kahneman nicely summarised the main results and achievements of his career and was humble enough both to give credit to his co-researchers and also to admit that some of his theories (such as on gambling choices) had subsequently been proven to be false.
|Audience at Kahneman interview|
Much of the theme of what Kahneman spoke about (and which was also a key theme of the workshop generally) was about 'moral judgment' - he cited the radically different legal responses to murder and attempted murder as an example of irrational (and possibly immoral) decision-making. The problem with 'moral judgment' - and the continually repeated notion of 'what is good for society' is that most academics have a particular view about these that they assume are both 'correct' and universally held. Hence, much of what I heard during the workshop was politicized and biased. This was also evident in Kahneman's answers to audience questions following the interview. I actually asked Kahneman what his rationale was for concluding that President Obama was a system 2 thinker. Bearing in mind that system 2 thinkers are supposed to be 'good' decision makers compared with system 1 thinkers, his response was clearly popular with many in the audience, but actually surprised me because it seemed to be purely political; he basically said something like "you only have to compare him with the previous guy (Bush) to know the difference".
Kahneman also gave his views on how conflicts (like that of Israel and its enemies) could be solved, which I found were naive and possibly contradictory to his own work in psychology. His theory is that both 'sides' in a conflict are rational, but believe they are responding to the actions of the other side - so all you need to do is to make both sides aware of this.
There was a very nice reception for invited workshop participants after Kahneman's interview, but Kahneman himself had to rush off to another meeting and he took no further part in the workshop.
|Dave Lagnado (UCL) - who we have worked with on Bayesian networks and the law - giving an excellent talk on "Spreading the blame" (he presented a framework for intuitive judgements and blame)|