Do Ethicists Steal More Books?

Eric Schwitzgebel

Philosophical Psychology, 22 (2009), 711-725

If explicit cognition about morality promotes moral behavior then one might expect ethics professors to behave particularly well. However, professional ethicistsí behavior has never been empirically studied. The present research examined the rates at which ethics books are missing from leading academic libraries, compared to other philosophy books similar in age and popularity. Study 1 found that relatively obscure, contemporary ethics books of the sort likely to be borrowed mainly by professors and advanced students of philosophy were actually about 50% more likely to be missing than non-ethics books. Study 2 found that classic (pre-1900) ethics books were about twice as likely to be missing.

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Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2009.

This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution.

The definitive version was published in Philosophical Psychology, Volume 22 Issue 6, December 2009.

doi:10.1080/09515080903409952 (


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