Ethicists’ Courtesy at Philosophy Conferences
Philosophical Psychology (forthcoming)
Eric Schwitzgebel, Joshua Rust, Linus Huang, Alan Moore, and Justin Coates
If philosophical moral reflection tends to promote moral behavior, one might think that professional ethicists would behave morally better than do socially comparable non-ethicists. We examined three types of courteous and discourteous behavior at American Philosophical Association conferences: talking audibly while the speaker is talking (vs. remaining silent), allowing the door to slam shut while entering or exiting mid-session (vs. attempting to close the door quietly), and leaving behind clutter at the end of a session (vs. leaving one’s seat tidy). By these three measures, audiences in ethics sessions did not appear, generally speaking, to behave any more courteously than did audiences in non-ethics sessions. However, audiences in environmental ethics sessions did appear to leave behind less trash.
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