Abstract: Most of us aim to be morally mediocre. That is, we aim to be about as morally good as our peers, not especially better, not especially worse. This mediocrity has two aspects. It is peer-relative rather than absolute, and it is middling rather than extreme. We look around us, notice how others are acting, then calibrate toward so-so. This is a somewhat bad way to be, but it's not a terribly bad way to be. We ought to be somewhat disappointed in ourselves. A possibly helpful comparison is being mediocre in other things you care about intensely: being a mediocre parent, a mediocre friend, a mediocre teacher, a mediocre philosopher.
Speaker: Eric Schwitzgebel (University of California Riverside). Most of Professor Schwitzgebel’s research explores connections between empirical psychology and philosophy of mind, especially the nature of belief, the inaccuracy of our judgments about our stream of conscious experience, and the tenuous relationship between philosophical ethics and actual moral behavior. He is co-author, with psychologist Russell T. Hurlburt, of Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic (2007).