MT22 St Cross Seminar: Dr Josh Rottman

Dimensions of valuation: Contrasting moral expansiveness and moral capacity

You are welcome to attend this hybrid seminar in-person at St Cross College or online (Zoom). See registration details below.


Dimensions of valuation: Contrasting moral expansiveness and moral capacity


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.


Dr Josh Rottman (Franklin & Marshall College). 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


In-person registration: The seminar will be held in the St Cross Room, St Cross College (61 St Giles’, Oxford). Registration required – register here

– OR – 

Zoom registration: 


Watch on YouTube - to follow

MP3 audio file - to follow

Transcript file - to follow

Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities

About the Seminar Series

The New St Cross Special Ethics Seminars are jointly arranged by the Oxford Uehiro Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.