A Study of Ethicists Finds They’re No More Ethical Than the Rest of Us

There were some differences in views — ethicists had more stringent expectations than other professors on donating to charity, but were more lenient on the immorality of theft, and staying in touch with their mothers. But the researchers found no significant difference in moral behavior. For example, ethicists on average said a professor should donate 6.9 percent of their annual income to charity per year, versus non-philosophers’ recommendation of 4.6 percent, and other philosophers’ suggestion of 5.1 percent. But when it came to following through on this moral guidance, there was no gap: Ethicists reported donating 4.6 percent of their annual salary to charity in the past year, compared to non-ethicist philosophers’ 4.6 percent and non-philosophers’ 4.4 percent.

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