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Do ethicists steal more books (and stuff)?

“One might suppose that ethicists would behave with particular moral scruple,” begins the little monograph, looking you straight in the eye while snorting and grinning, textily. The two co-authors, philosophy professors who specialise in ethics, thus embark on what they call a “preliminary investigation” of their fellow ethics experts.

Eric Schwitzgebel of the University of California, Riverside, and Joshua Rust of Stetson University in Deland, Florida, surveyed almost 300 attendees of a meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Tell us, they asked in a variety of ways, about the ethical behaviour of ethicists you have known. Schwitzgebel and Rust offered candy to anyone who agreed to complete the survey form. They report that “a number of people stole candy without completing a questionnaire or took more than their share without permission”…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

BONUS (2012): News report: “Man steals ‘Resolving Ethical Issues’ book

Improbable Research