The Ethics of Ethicists

From Eric Schwitzgebel and Joshua Rust, more very puzzling survey results showing that ethicists aren't more ethical than non-ethicist philosophers and other professors.


Faust said...

It's not really so puzzling. It just means that most ethicists are merely "premise authors," to use a Kierkegaardian term.

Jean Kazez said...

Uh oh, something else I don't understand. What does that mean?

Faust said...

A "premise auhor" is one who produces many theses about how things are or ought to be, but then fails to exemplify them.

"Nowadays people think that it is very glorious if someone is so fortunate as to be struck by a profound thought, to make a profound remark, now and then horis succissivis to compile something profound that in every other hour one existentially denies."

By your fruit ye shall know them and all that.

In my opinion this is all just evidence that reason on its own is simply not sufficient for moral behavior. Passion first and foremost decides behavior. So for a rational morality one needs passion leading reason. Reason on its own won't cut it.

Wayne said...

Hmm... The reason why I don't donate blood as often as I should is because I'm not qualified to donate, otherwise I would. I am a organ donor. I give currently about 5% of my monthly income to charity. I'm an ethical vegetarian.

But beyond myself, I think there is a lot of reason to think that this study is flawed, since it is focusing on the benevolent acts, rather than refraining of harmful acts.

Just because ethicists are failing to live up to their supererogatory duties, doesn't make them ethically dubious persons.

Faust said...

Unless you think that the way ethicists think about superogatory duties is wrong, that in fact, the entire notion of "superogatory duty" is just an escape hatch for people who would like to draw the line of "legitimate requirement" over here rather than over there.

Jean Kazez said...

Wayne, They looked at a wide range of behaviors, not just "supererogatory" acts. Amusing example--apparently ethicists don't return books to the library as much as other philosophers do. That's surely not supererogatory.