Can you think your way to being good?

The link between thought and action is tenuous

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Eric Schwitzgebel studies whether professional philosophers of ethics actually live more ethically than other kinds of philosophers and academics. Being a philosopher himself, Schwitzgebel wanted an alternative perspective at the start of his project several years ago. So he asked his seven year-old son, Davy, if he thought people who think a lot about being nice and being fair acted more fairly and nicely.

“‘The kids who always talk about being fair and sharing,’ I recall him saying, ‘mostly just want you to be fair to them and share with them.’”

I think Davy got it about right. The best people I have known, the most moral in their actions, have generally not been the most reflective; and the most reflective have certainly not been the most moral in deed.

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