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Moral Agency Initiative

Rock Ethics Institute

As a faculty member in the Rock Ethics Institute, Dr. Cameron leads the research initiative on Moral Agency and Moral Development.  This initiative is focused on fostering research collaborations (such as articles and grant applications) about moral experience, deliberation, judgment, and action, and forms of education that support the development of moral agency.

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Moral Agency Workshop

The Moral Agency Workshop is an interdisciplinary working group that brings together faculty and graduate students from a diverse range of disciplines to study ethics and morality. In particular, we focus on why and how do people behave in moral and ethical ways?   We discuss psychological foundations for the development and sustenance of moral agency, and philosophical conditions for moral agency and responsibility. Currently, our members include faculty and students from psychology, philosophy, political science, sociology, communication and media studies, marketing, bioethics, and anthropology. If you have an interest in empirically and philosophically informed approaches to these questions, we invite you to join!  The workshop will meet every month over coffee at the Rock Ethics Institute, with meeting times and topics announced below. Our meetings involve both assigned readings and members workshopping in-progress ideas that would be usefully and constructively informed by interdisciplinary feedback.  This group is designed to encourage active interdisciplinary discussion, and foster the development of grant applications and research projects that transcend traditional boundaries. If you are interested in being part of the group, contact Dr. Cameron for more information.

Expanding Empathy Speaker Series, Spring 2020

For Penn State News articles about the series click here and here

Jesse Graham (University of Utah), “Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces in the Moral Circle” 

Thursday, March 5, 3:30pm in Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library

Penn State News article about Jesse Graham's lecture

Archive of Jesse Graham's live-stream lecture:

Paul Conway (Florida State University), “Marrying Deontology and Utilitarianism with Virtue Ethics"

Monday, April 27, 1-2:30pm on Zoom Webinar

David DeSteno (Northeastern University), “Hacking Virtue: How Moral Emotions Build Self-Control From the Bottom Up” 

Tuesday, April 28, 1-2:30pm on Zoom Webinar

Abigail Marsh (Georgetown University), “The Altruistic Brain” 

Wednesday, April 29, 11am-Noon on Zoom Webinar

Expanding Empathy Panel Discussion

Wednesday, April 29, 1-2:30pm on Zoom Webinar:


Poster by Tiny Little Hammers design

Webinar Recording:

Expanding Empathy 2020

Moral Psychology Research Group (MPRG) Conference, Fall 2017

The Moral Psychology Research Group (MPRG) is an interdisciplinary collective of psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers from around the world who meet twice a year to discuss and generate research projects related to moral decision-making, ethics, and cognitive science.  In October 2017, Dr. Cameron and the Rock Ethics Institute hosted the MPRG conference, which included MPRG members, as well as a number of psychologists and philosophers from nearby universities.

The conference started on Thursday, October 5, with a public lecture by philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on the possibilities of building moral and ethical norms into artificial intelligence (3:30-5:00pm in Foster Auditorium, followed by responses by Dr. Cameron and Dr. Alan Wagner (Engineering).  On Friday, October 6, and Saturday, October 7, the MPRG conference continued at the Penn Stater Conference Center with a series of talks and workshops by faculty from Penn State, as well as invited speakers from around the country. 

Archive of Keynote by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong with Responses by Alan Wagner and Daryl Cameron:


Digital Interviews with Ethics Scholars

On the Relationship Between Science and Ethics 

With Daniel Kelly, Stephen Stich, and Natalia Washington

On the Moral Brain 

With Joshua Greene, Anthony Jack, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

On Interdisciplinary Approaches to Morality

With Derek Leben, Christopher Olivola, and Joshua Rottman

The study of moral psychology: how and why do people act ethically and make moral judgments?

With John Doris and Laura Niemi


Rock Ethics Institute Podcast: The Ethics of Empathy (Fall 2016)

With Michael Burroughs (Philosophy), Joshua Inwood (Geography), Alan Wagner (Engineering)

Moderated by Daryl Cameron (Psychology) and Rob Peeler

We recorded the frame for this podcast right after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and in the main section, we have an interdisciplinary discussion about the ethics of empathy that happened right *before* the election. How does empathy play a role in collective activism? How do children learn empathy? Can robots learn and express empathy? And how can discussion across the sciences and humanities inform us about the limits and morality of empathy? 

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