The Moral Behavior of Ethicists

In J. Sytsma and W. Buckwalter, eds., A Companion to Experimental Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)

Eric Schwitzgebel and Joshua Rust

Abstract:
Is philosophical moral reflection of the sort practiced by professional ethicists in fact morally improving? And how do ethicists' explicitly espoused moral principles relate to their practical moral behavior? To date, all published quantitative studies of the issue have been led by Eric Schwitzgebel and Joshua Rust, the two authors of this article, usually in collaboration with each other. Our general finding is this: On average, professional ethicists' behavior is indistinguishable from the behavior of comparison groups of professors in other fields. Also, in one multi-variable study, we find ethicists neither more nor less likely than other professors to act in accord with their expressed moral attitudes. This article summarizes these overall findings and offers a new quantitative meta-analysis.

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