Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 3
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Byron, M. 2005. Simon's revenge: or, incommensurability and satisficing. Analysis, Vol. 65, Issue. 4, p. 311.

    Gigerenzer, Gerd 2010. Moral Satisficing: Rethinking Moral Behavior as Bounded Rationality. Topics in Cognitive Science, Vol. 2, Issue. 3, p. 528.

    Tucker, Chris 2017. How to think about satisficing. Philosophical Studies, Vol. 174, Issue. 6, p. 1365.

  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: December 2009

6 - Satisficing: Not Good Enough



The idea of satisficing either expresses the correct but relatively banal insight that the pervasive need to trade off incommensurable values puts optimizing deliberation out of reach, or else it articulates a specific, non-optimizing strategy of decision. In company with the proponents of satisficing, I believe that optimizing is seldom an apt concept for modeling deliberation. As a broad approach to human rationality emphasizing, as H. A. Simon famously did, that our limitations as deliberators mean that optimizing is rarely a rational strategy, satisficing constitutes a valuable insight; however, when satisficing is worked up into a competing strategy of decision — as it has been by a number of recent philosophers — the idea of satisficing gets into trouble, as I will show. The core idea of satisficing is that “one ceases to search for alternatives when one finds an alternative” that one deems to be “good enough.” Working this idea up into a decision-making strategy requires specifying a suitable metric of what is “good enough.” As I shall argue, showing a suitable deference to the banal facts about tradeoffs among incommensurable values while at the same time having to remain distinct from optimizing pushes the proponent of satisficing as a decision-making strategy to specify what is “good enough” in terms of a highly idealized account of what someone's preferences are.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Satisficing and Maximizing
  • Online ISBN: 9780511617058
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *