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Expanding Empathy Speaker Series: Paul Conway

When Apr 27, 2020
from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM
Where Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library
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Expanding Empathy Speaker Series

Speaker: Paul Conway, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Florida State University

Title: Marrying Deontology and Utilitarianism with Virtue Ethics: Balancing Affective with Cognitive Processing Predicts Increased Prosociality and Reduced Antisociality

Abstract: For millennia, philosophers and scientists have debated whether morality primarily entails rational or emotional processing, while engaging in a second debate regarding whether to focus on the morality of specific actions versus the moral tendencies of individuals. Across 15 studies (N ~ 5000), I will aim to reconcile these debates by suggesting theoretical integration: people who tend to be most moral (virtue ethics) demonstrate a balance of affective and cognitive processing, which leads them to a balanced consideration of utilitarian and deontological ethical concerns at the level of individual moral decisions. People balancing affective with cognitive processing demonstrate increased prosociality and reduced antisociality on a variety of measures. Neither an absolute focus on rationality nor emotionality, nor on exclusively deontological or utilitarian concerns, is associated with enhanced morality. Such findings require a conceptual overhaul of moral dilemma research and clarify the psychology of moral excellence.

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