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UCR to Host Workshop on the Science of Morality

UCR to Host Workshop on the Science of Morality

The Jan. 27-28 event features leading scholars who will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of morality.

(January 12, 2012)

Jan StetsEnlarge

Jan Stets

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Twelve of the nation’s leading scholars on the science of morality will meet for a two-day, interdisciplinary workshop at the University of California, Riverside on Jan. 27-28.

“The Science of Morality” is free and open to the public to observe. Parking is $6 per day. Both all-day sessions begin at 8 a.m. in Humanities 1500. The workshop is supported by the UCR Chancellor’s Strategic Investment Fund.

The workshop is intended to begin a collaboration among the participating faculty – who include sociologists, psychologists, economists, philosophers and neuroscientists – leading to interdisciplinary work that will enable scholars and policy makers to better understand the moral person and moral behavior.

“You can’t look at moral behavior or moral action from the perspective of one discipline or using one lens,” said Jan Stets, UCR professor of sociology and organizer of the workshop. “You have to examine it from a variety of lenses because each lens offers important insights. The participating scholars will discuss where they see shortcomings in current research, and they will use that knowledge as a springboard to plan future work in this area.”

“The discussion is timely,” Stets said, “given the economy and moral lapses that were associated with its near-collapse. Prior to the economic recession, the science of morality was rapidly growing. When the economic downturn occurred, many lost their retirement savings, homes, and jobs, and the blame was directed at the irresponsible practices, even greed, of investment advisors and mortgage lenders, making the study of morality all the more important.“

This interdisciplinary initiative is important, Stets said, “because we need a clearer, deeper, and broader understanding of morality. I don’t think we can achieve this without engagement across the disciplines. If we can build upon the discoveries of earlier work and advance the study of morality in a compelling way, our contributions to science and to the public will be valuable and useful.”

Participating scholars are:
• Dan Batson, professor emeritus, University of Kansas
• Peter Burke, distinguished professor of sociology, University of California, Riverside
• Jean Decety, Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Chicago
• James Konow, professor of economics, Loyola Marymount University
• Dan Lapsley, professor of psychology, University of Notre Dame
• Benoit Monin, associate professor of organizational behavior and psychology, Stanford University
• Darcia Narvaez, associate professor of psychology, University of Notre Dame
• Larry Nucci, adjunct professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
• Stephanie Preston, assistant professor of psychology, University of Michigan
• Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics, Duke University
• Jan Stets, professor of sociology, University of California, Riverside
• Jonathan Turner, University Professor of sociology, University of California, Riverside

For more information visit the workshop website or contact Jan Stets.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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