Bring the Family Address
Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing
Saturday, May 26, 2012,
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
"America is broken," says Barry Schwartz. "None of the institutions we rely on –- schools, clinics, courts, banks -– give us what we want and need. Our efforts to repair these institutions rely on two tools: rules and incentives. Neither can do the job. What is also needed is virtue and character, and especially the virtue that Aristotle called "practical wisdom" -- the will to do the right thing and the skill to figure out what the right thing is. Psychological research tells us that whereas people aren't born wise, they are born to become wise, if they have the right experience -- and rules and incentives provide the wrong experience. Too many rules undermine the development of skill, and too much reliance on incentives undermines the needed will. Current institutional practices threaten wisdom. Efforts can and should be made to nurture it instead."
Barry Schwartz will sign copies of his book, Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing, immediately following this program from 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM outside of Chicago Ballroom VI and VII in the Ballroom Promenade.
Barry Schwartz’s research investigates the decision-making processes that underlie our choices and examines how our choices make us feel. Schwartz’s research has shown that, rather than making us feel better, having more freedom and choice often makes us feel worse. Specifically, the expectation of choice may cause us to question our choices before we make them and can lead us to be disappointed with them afterward. More recently, Schwartz has turned to examine the role of "practical wisdom" -– built on personal experience, ethics, and judgment -– in decision making. Throughout his work, Schwartz blends insights from psychological science and economics to understand how we make decisions, how we come to value some things above others, and how we balance our sense of morality with our own self-interest. Schwartz is the Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College and is the author of several best-selling books, including The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less and Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing.
Recovering the Moral Dimension: An Interview with Barry Schwartz (video)
Barry Schwartz in The Faces and Minds of Psychological Science