How we make moral decisions

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Imagine that one day you’re riding the train and decide to hop the turnstile to avoid paying the fare. It probably won’t have a big impact on the financial well-being of your local transportation system. But now ask yourself, “What if everyone did that?” The outcome is much different—the system would likely go bankrupt and no one would be able to ride the train anymore.

Moral philosophers have long believed this type of reasoning, known as universalization, is the best way to make moral decisions. But do ordinary people spontaneously use this kind of moral judgment in their everyday lives?

In a study of several hundred people, MIT and Harvard University researchers have confirmed that people do use this strategy in particular situations called “threshold problems.” These are social dilemmas in which harm can occur if everyone, or a large number of people, performs a certain

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Caltech, other colleges drop SAT and ACT from admissions decisions

But Caltech won’t even consider those tests in the selection of its next two entering classes. It is in the vanguard of a small but growing movement to eliminate the ACT and SAT from admission decisions. The immense educational disruptions of the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially shortages of seats at testing centers, have fueled the development.

Others experimenting with this approach include the University of California at Berkeley and some other UC campuses, Reed College in Oregon, the California State University System and Washington State University. Catholic University, in D.C., said this year it will omit test scores in admissions from now on.

These schools are taking a more radical stance than the “test-optional” movement, which allows applicants to choose whether to send scores. Instead, these schools are declaring themselves “test-blind” or “test-free.”

Nikki Kahealani Chun, director of undergraduate admissions for Caltech, said the 2,200-student school in Pasadena has never

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Launching A Startup Comes Down To Making A Few Key Decisions

A successful startup is made up of a collection of good decisions. It is led by entrepreneurs who are not afraid to make decisions, follow through on their decisions, and use the lessons they learned from earlier decisions to make better future decisions.  

If you’re starting and fear the uncertainty of the startup journey, think about your launch phase in terms of the decisions you will need to make using a backward approach. Start by listing the different key areas of your startup like product, marketing and legal. Next, list all of the key decisions you may have

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How schools can make smarter technology purchasing decisions

Educators in the United States spend $13 billion annually on ed tech but have no way to collectively track the success of those technology tools. That’s why the EdTech Evidence Exchange, part of the University of Virginia, has launched the EdTech Genome Project—to create a framework to give K-12 school and district decision makers a tool for making more informed choices when it comes to purchasing and implementing classroom technology.

The project, which began late last year, includes a 27-member advisory board of academic researchers, educators, technology investors, union leaders and representatives of philanthropic organizations. “There’s nothing more powerful than an accomplished teacher with access to the best tools,” says Peggy Brookins, CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and an advisory board member. “For too long, though, educators and school leaders have operated without a clear framework to understand how best to choose and implement technology that

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