In his recent post “To accept or to decline: mapping life’s little dilemmas using IBIS“, Kailash Awati provides a nice case study of using mapping to make a significant personal decision. Interestingly, the “little dilemma” in the case study is just the same kind of issue that was facing Joseph Priestley when he wrote to Benjamin Franklin asking for his advice, resulting in Franklin’s famous letter describing his “moral algebra”. Like most people, when reading Franklin’s letter I didn’t bother to ask what exactly was bothering Priestley so much that he would beg for Franklin’s advice. As described in Steven Johnson’s excellent book The Invention of Air, Priestley was deliberating over whether to accept a particular job offer. And as I discuss here, Franklin’s two-column pro/con method, for all its virtues, is just too simple to accommodate the true complexity of deliberative decision making. Awati’s case study illustrates how the moral algebra can be extended to embrace this complexity while retaining clarity by using the IBIS methodology and supporting software such as Compendium or bCisive.
Decision Making, Decision mapping, Deliberation, Moral algebra