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“Why We Did It” Tells Us Why People Do It

“Why We Did It” Tells Us Why People Do It

What might you do if someday you find yourself working for a boss that you slowly discover is not just a jerk but is truly morally abhorrent? Or maybe you find yourself selling a consumer product that you come to find out is harmful to its users. Or maybe your company tasks you with pushing […]

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R. Kelly, Sex Abuse, and Networks of Complicity

R. Kelly, Sex Abuse, and Networks of Complicity

Kelly’s recent conviction for racketeering and sex trafficking crimes was long overdue. How in the world could he gave gotten away with this abuse for decades? An excellent analysis of the “whys” of this sad situation was recently published in The Conversation by our friend and colleague, Minette Drumwright of the University of Texas Moody […]

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Leading with Values

Leading with Values

As with our last blog post, we write to recommend that those readers who teach ethics check out a new textbook. Neil Malhotra and Ken Shotts of the Stanford Graduate School of Business have written the relatively brief (149 pages of text) Leading with Values: Strategies for Making Ethical Decisions in Business and Life (Cambridge […]

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The Conscience Code

The Conscience Code

If you are interested in behavioral ethics, and we hope you are, we have a book recommendation for you—G. Richard Shell’s The Conscience Code: Lead with Your Values, Advance Your Career (2021). Dr. Shell is the Chair of the Wharton School’s Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department at Penn and the author of several popular […]

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Moral Exhaustion is a Thing, Just Not a New Thing

Moral Exhaustion is a Thing, Just Not a New Thing

We just finished reading How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question by Michael Schur. This extremely entertaining book is a layman’s guide to morality. Schur is not an academic, but he is smart, thoughtful, well-read, and curious. Most important, he is also humble (he sought the guidance of several philosophy professors), […]

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Amoralman: A Master Illusionist’s Moral Illusions

Amoralman: A Master Illusionist’s Moral Illusions

When we ran across Derek Delgaudio’s book AMORALMAN: A True Story and Other Lies, we figured that the writers of an ethics blog should be reading a book with that title, and we’re glad we did. Given that we focus on behavioral ethics, we are always interested in learning how others made the moral and […]

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Doing Hard Time for Making the Hard Sell

Doing Hard Time for Making the Hard Sell

Incentives work. And no one seems to understand how to motivate human behavior via incentives better than pharmaceutical companies. This became clear to us as we read recent books on the opioid crisis, often focusing on Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the now infamous Sackler family—see Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the […]

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“Why did I do it?” Varsity Blues Scandal, Part III

“Why did I do it?” Varsity Blues Scandal, Part III

“Why did I do it? I go to bed and wake up each day asking myself the same question. I had to convince myself that I somehow deserved the money.”—Coach Michael Center You may be tired of thinking about the Varsity Blues admissions scandal and of reading our blog posts about it (See: Aunt Becky […]

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Engineering Ethics and the Boeing Scandal

Engineering Ethics and the Boeing Scandal

When college professors have a bad day, their students don’t learn as much that particular day. When engineers have a bad day, many people can die and significant environmental harm can be done—consider the Volkswagen pollution control device scandal, the Deepwater Horizon fire, the Kansas City Hyatt walkway collapse, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, the […]

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Optimism Bias: The Dark Side of Looking at the Bright Side

Optimism Bias: The Dark Side of Looking at the Bright Side

On January 20, 2022, CNN reported that a well-known Czech folk singer, who also happened to be a vocal anti-vaxxer, had died of COVID-19 after intentionally exposing herself to the virus so that she could be “done with COVID.” She was confident that COVID-19 posed no serious threat to her health. Hanna Horka’s tragic death […]

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