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MT22 St Cross Seminar: Dr Josh Rottman

Thursday, 20 October '22   5:30pm – 7pm BST
St Cross Room, St Cross College, 61 St Giles', Oxford, OX1 3LZ
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Title: Dimensions of valuation: Contrasting moral expansiveness and moral capacity

Abstract: Scholars who seek to understand how individuals differ in their scope of moral regard have typically focused on variations in the total number of entities that are ascribed moral standing. However, this focus leaves important questions unanswered about the nature of people's moral capacity. For example, two people may be equally morally expansive but differ substantially in the degree to which they value strangers over animals. More generally, recent research suggests that people may treat moral concern as a finite, zero-sum resource, such that expanding moral concern to additional entities entails a dilution of moral concern in other spheres. This talk will review the existing evidence for a "capacity-based" dimension of moral concern and demonstrate how it contrasts with a dimension of moral expansiveness.

Bio: Josh Rottman is currently on sabbatical from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, where he is an Associate Professor of Psychology. Josh’s interdisciplinary research investigates the cognitive science of moral boundaries, primarily through experimental studies with children and adults. Josh's work spans issues related to the heterogeneity of the moral domain, intergroup bias, environmentalism, purity and disgust, and the role of testimony in shaping moral beliefs. More information is available at


Please note that seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Since there is no charge for the event, not all registered participants attend. To compensate for this, we operate a policy of overbooking so please arrive early in order to guarantee your seat.

Please remember to cancel your place if you are no longer able to attend.




St Cross Room, St Cross College
61 St Giles'