The Moral Behavior of Ethicists: Peer OpinionEric Schwitzgebel and Joshua Rust
Mind (2009), 118, 1043-1059
If philosophical moral reflection tends to improve moral
behaviour, one might expect that professional ethicists will, on average, behave
morally better than non-ethicists. One potential source of insight into the
moral behaviour of ethicists is philosophers’ opinions about ethicists’
behaviour. At the 2007 Pacific Division meeting of the American
Philosophical Association, we used chocolate to entice 277 passers by to
complete anonymous questionnaires without their knowing the topic of those
questionnaires in advance. Version I of the questionnaire asked respondents
to compare, in general, the moral behaviour of ethicists to that of philosophers
not specializing in ethics and to non-academics of similar social background. Version
II asked respondents similar questions about the moral behaviour of the ethics
specialist in their department whose name comes next in alphabetical order after
their own. Both versions asked control questions about specialists in
metaphysics and epistemology. The majority of respondents expressed the
view that ethicists do not, on average, behave better than non-ethicists. While
ethicists tended to avoid saying that ethicists behave worse than non-ethicists, non-ethicists expressed that pessimistic
view about as often as they expressed the view that ethicists behave better.
By clicking below, you are requesting a copy for personal use only in accordance with fair use laws
Click here to view this document as a PDF file: The Moral Behavior of Ethicists: Peer Opinion.
Or click here to view the penultimate draft as an HTM file: The Moral Behavior of Ethicists: Peer Opinion (June 5, 2009).
Or email eschwitz at domain: ucr.edu for a copy of this paper.
Return to Eric Schwitzgebel's homepage.