Dec 16, 2013

Are Ethicists More Likely to Pay Their Fees?

Lists of paid registrants at Pacific Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association from 2006–2008 were compared with lists of people appearing as presenters, commentators or chairs on the meeting programme those same years. These were years in which fee payment depended primarily on an honour system rather than on enforcement. Seventy-four per cent of ethicist participants and 76% of non-ethicist participants appear to have paid their meeting registration fees: not a statistically significant difference. This finding of no difference survives scrutiny for several possible confounds. Thus, professional ethicists seem no less likely to free-ride in this context than do philosophers not specializing in ethics. These data fit with other recent findings suggesting that on average professional ethicists behave no morally better than do professors not specializing in ethics.
That is from this article by Eric Schwitzgebel in Economic and Philosophy (November 2013). A draft is here

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