Decision Making and Buridan's Ass

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Flipism Pages: 2 (710 words) Published: May 22, 2006
Decision Making and Buridan's Ass
Buridan's ass is the common name for the paradox which states that an entirely rational ass, placed exactly in the middle between two stacks of hay of equal size and quality, will starve since it cannot make any rational decision to start eating one rather than the other. The paradox is named after the 14th century French philosopher Jean Buridan. (wikipedia.org. 2006.) I love the idea of a decision making model where everything sucks. I enjoy the thought of making decisions based on the simple idea of which options sucks less than the others. How many times in life have we as humans been PARALYZED with an inability to act because we weren't sure if we were getting the BEST deal possible? Why do people let themselves completely miss an opportunity and wind up empty handed instead of take it for all that it is worth and focus on the next success? All rhetorical questions, but all equally thought provoking. I was recently faced with a large decision in my professional life. I was working in the best job I ever had; NASA. I worked with my best friend in the middle of nowhere. I had my own house and lots of delinquent friends to share it with. I also had a wonderful girl who lived a very long ways away. I had interviewed for and received several job offers. Some paid quite well, while others offered great benefits. I was beset with great things left and right and was unsure of what step to take, so I based my decision on which options were least desirable. Now I work for the Apollo Group, Inc. Buridan's Ass decision model is one of many popular methods for coming to a decision about something. Other types of popular methods include the T-chart: pro vs. con, and PMI: plus, minus, and interesting. (Harris, 2003) The Buridan's Ass method is generally see as a follow-up to either of these decision models as it is generally used when trying to decide between two or more equally positive options. This implies that one has...

References: Harris, Robert (2003). Decision Making Techniques. Retrieved April 28, 2006, from Virtual Salt Web site: http://www.virtualsalt.com/crebook6.htm
(2006, March 17). Buridan 's ass. Retrieved April 28, 2006, from Wikipedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buridan%27s_ass
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