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Monday, October 6, 2014

On Aiming for Moral Mediocrity

By Eric Schwitzgebel
The Splintered Mind Blog
Originally published October 2, 2014

People seem to calibrate toward moral mediocrity. If we see, or are told, that many people violate a norm, that seems to increase the rate at which we ourselves violate the norm (e.g., Cialdini et al 2006; Keizer et al. 2011 [though see here]). Commit a good deed or think of yourself in a good light, and shortly thereafter you might be more likely to commit a bad deed, or less likely to commit another good deed, than you otherwise would have been ("moral self-licensing"; though see here). Susan Wolf tells us that people do not, and should not, aim to be moral saints. But maybe she understates the case: Not only do people not want to be saints, they don't even want to be particularly good.

The entire blog post is here.