Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knowledge is not the constraint

According to a paper written by two philosophy professors, Eric Schwitzgebel of the University of California at Riverside and Joshua Rust of Stetson University, a college professorship in ethics does not necessary translate into moral behavior. At least, that’s what the people who work with ethicists say.

Equipped with free Ghirardelli chocolate to entice potential survey-takers, Schwitzgebel set out to test that assumption at a 2007 meeting of the American Philosophical Association by distributing questionnaires asking how well philosophers presumed their peers in ethics behave. Not any better than the next guy, they said. ...

If being pushed toward the good means not stealing, ethicists might not be feeling the push. In another of Schwitzgebel’s papers forthcoming in a peer review journal, he looks at whether ethics books are more likely to be missing from libraries than non-ethics books. Focusing on the especially obscure ethics texts that only specialized professors or graduate students would go looking for, Schwitzgebel found the ethics books to be slightly more likely to be unaccounted for.
--Kate Maternowski, Inside Higher Ed, on the durability of original sin

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