Cross-national evidence for political philosophers’ civic behavior

Yarden Niv, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The moral behavior of philosophers has gained notable attention in recent years as a robust means of exploring the relationship between moral reflection and behavior. These studies post that if philosophers, who are deeply engaged with moral reflection, do not act more ethically, we should not expect moral reflection to affect the behavior of lay people. Overall, these studies find no evidence that philosophers (including moral ones) behave in a more ethical way than others, except for evidence regarding vegetarianism. In this study, we utilize data on philosophers (N = 1,376) from eight European countries, the largest sample to date, to examine this relationship. In line with previous studies, we assume the moral worth of civic engagement but use a wider set of five civic behaviors. In contrast to previous studies, we find systematically higher levels of civic engagement (except in the case of voting) among political philosophers in all eight countries, even after controlling education level, gender, age, and immigration status. We further propose two explanations–the norm and the domain-specific propositions–that might reconcile our findings with those of prior studies. These findings can provide a refreshing direction for future research in this field.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • civic participation
  • experimental philosophy
  • Moral behavior
  • moral expertise
  • moral reflection


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