"Does Studying Ethics Make People More Ethical?" A Talk with Eric Schwitzgebel
"Does Studying Ethics Make People More Ethical?"
Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor of Philosophy, University of California Riverside
Professor Schwitzgebel’s research explores connections between empirical psychology and philosophy of mind, especially the nature of belief, the inaccuracy of our judgments about our stream of conscious experience, and the tenuous relationship between philosophical ethics and actual moral behavior. He is the author of Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic, with Russell T. Hurlburt, MIT Press (2007); Perplexities of Consciousness, MIT Press (2011); and A Theory of Jerks, and Other Philosophical Misadventures, MIT Press (2019).
This event is the keynote address for the Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference and is funded by the Catherine Gould Chism Fund and the Department of Philosophy.
Abstract for the talk: Does philosophical reasoning influence real-world moral behavior? Empirical data on the moral behavior of ethics professors suggests maybe not. However, I will present some new data on the influence of philosophical instruction and argument on meat eating and on charitable giving which suggests that under some conditions, philosophical argumentation might have a real-world influence. All conclusions are tentative, without warranty, and to be used at your own risk.