Oberlin College and Conservatory

Does Studying Ethics Make People More Ethical?

Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 4:30pm

King Building, 343
10 North Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

The Philosophy Department is hosting Eric Schwitzgebel for his talk: 'Does Studying Ethics Make People More Ethical?'

Abstract: 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.

Schwitzgebel is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside.  He earned his BA in philosophy at Stanford University and his PhD in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Most of 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. His most recent book is A Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical Misadventures (2019). He also works on classical Chinese philosophy and philosophical science fiction.

Event Type



Academic, Philosophy


Free and Open to the Public

Photo Alternate Text

Photo of Professor Eric Schwitzgebel

Contact Person

Joan Kaatz

Contact Phone Number


Contact E-mail Address


Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Recent Activity