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Showing posts from August, 2015

Ethics and ethicists

Eric Schwitzgebel, a philosophy professor at the University of California has an article in Aeon Magazine discussing his series of investigations into whether academics who study ethics tend to behave more ethically than ordinary people. It's very interesting and well worth reading.

The headline finding is that they don't. Being a professor of ethics or moral philosophy doesn't make you any more likely to be ethical - to vote in elections, be vegetarian, donating blood or organs, giving to charity, or even staying in touch with your parents. This is a finding that's been around for a while and occasionally pops up in articles - usually not as good as this one - which are shared by students who don't want to write their ethics essays.

I find it hard to see what the paradox or surprise is meant to be here, because I see basically no reason to expect that academic ethicists would be better at following moral rules. Schwitzgebel talks in the article about discussions w…