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  1. Comparing the Effect of Rational and Emotional Appeals on Donation Behavior.Matthew Lindauer, Marcus Mayorga, Joshua D. Greene, Paul Slovic, Daniel Västfjäll & Peter Singer - forthcoming - Judgment and Decision Making.
    We present evidence from a pre-registered experiment indicating that a philosophical argument––a type of rational appeal––can persuade people to make charitable donations. The rational appeal we used follows Singer’s well-known “shallow pond” argument (1972), while incorporating an evolutionary debunking argument (Paxton, Ungar, & Greene 2012) against favoring nearby victims over distant ones. The effectiveness of this rational appeal did not differ significantly from that of a well-tested emotional appeal involving an image of a single child in need (Small, Loewenstein, and (...)
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  2. Rescue and Personal Involvement: A Response to Woollard.Theron Pummer & Roger Crisp - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):59-66.
    Fiona Woollard argues that when one is personally involved in an emergency, one has a moral requirement to make substantial sacrifices to aid others that one would not otherwise have. She holds that there are three ways in which one could be personally involved in an emergency: by being physically proximate to the victims of the emergency; by being the only person who can help the victims; or by having a personal encounter with the victims. Each of these factors is (...)
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  3. All or Nothing, but If Not All, Next Best or Nothing.Theron Pummer - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (5):278-291.
    Suppose two children face a deadly threat. You can either do nothing, save one child by sacrificing your arms, or save both by sacrificing your arms. Here are two plausible claims: first, it is permissible to do nothing; second, it is wrong to save only one. Joe Horton argues that the combination of these two claims has the implausible implication that if you are not going to save both children, you ought to save neither. This is one instance of what (...)
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  4. Eine Theorie der globalen Verantwortung. Was wir Menschen in extremer Armut schulden.Valentin Beck - 2016 - Berlin, Deutschland: Suhrkamp Verlag.
    Auch zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts lebt ein großer Teil der Menschheit in bitterer Armut. Daraus ergibt sich die brennende Frage, was die Bürgerinnen und Bürger wohlhabender Länder extrem armen Menschen moralisch schulden. Valentin Beck beantwortet sie im Rahmen einer umfassenden Theorie der globalen Verantwortung. In seinem glänzend geschriebenen Buch behandelt er zentrale Fragen der Theorie globaler Gerechtigkeit, unterzieht unsere Verflechtung in globale soziale Strukturen einer detaillierten Analyse und wirft so ein neues Licht auf eine der größten moralischen Herausforderungen unserer (...)
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Effective Altruism
  1. Overriding Virtue.Richard Y. Chappell - 2019 - In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues. Oxford University Press. pp. 218-226.
    If you focus your charitable giving on global causes where it will do the most good, how should you feel about passing by the local soup kitchen? Would the ideally virtuous agent have their (local) empathy still activated, but simply overridden by the recognition that distant others are in even greater need, leaving the agent feeling torn? Or would their empathetic impulses be wholeheartedly redirected towards the greatest needs? This chapter suggests a way to revise an outdated conception of moral (...)
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  2. Effective Justice.Roger Crisp & Theron Pummer - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    Effective Altruism is a social movement which encourages people to do as much good as they can when helping others, given limited money, time, effort, and other resources. This paper first identifies a minimal philosophical view that underpins this movement, and then argues that there is an analogous minimal philosophical view which might underpin Effective Justice, a possible social movement that would encourage promoting justice most effectively, given limited resources. The latter minimal view reflects an insight about justice, and our (...)
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  3. The Epistemic Challenge to Longtermism.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    Longtermism holds that what we ought to do is mainly determined by effects on the far future. A natural objection is that these effects may be nearly impossible to predict -- perhaps so close to impossible that, despite the astronomical importance of the far future, the expected value of our present options is mainly determined by short-term considerations. This paper aims to precisify and evaluate (a version of) this epistemic objection. To that end, I develop two simple models for comparing (...)
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  4. Effective Altruism’s Underspecification Problem.Travis Timmerman - 2019 - In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 166-183.
    Effective altruists either believe they ought to be, or strive to be, doing the most good they can. Since they’re human, however, effective altruists are invariably fallible. In numerous situations, even the most committed EAs would fail to live up to the ideal they set for themselves. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future prospective failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective altruist? (...)
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  5. Effective Altruism and Systemic Change.Antonin Broi - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (3):262-276.
    One of the main objections against effective altruism is the so-called institutional critique, according to which the EA movement neglects interventions that affect large-scale institutions. Alexander Dietz has recently put forward an interesting version of this critique, based on a theoretical problem affecting act-utilitarianism, which he deems as potentially conclusive against effective altruism. In this article I argue that his critique is not as promising as it seems. I then go on to propose another version of the institutional critique. In (...)
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  6. Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism.William MacAskill - 2019 - Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (1):49-60.
    In the article, ‘Being Good in a World of Need: Some Empirical Worries and an Uncomfortable Philosophical Possibility,’ Larry Temkin presents some concerns about the possible impact of international aid on the poorest people in the world, suggesting that the nature of the duties of beneficence of the global rich to the global poor are much more murky than some people have made out. -/- In this article, I’ll respond to Temkin from the perspective of effective altruism—one of the targets (...)
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  7. Medical Crowdfunding, Political Marginalization, and Government Responsiveness: A Reply to Larry Temkin.Alida Liberman - 2019 - Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (1):40-48.
    Larry Temkin draws on the work of Angus Deaton to argue that countries with poor governance sometimes rely on charitable giving and foreign aid in ways that enable them to avoid relying on their own citizens; this can cause them to be unresponsive to their citizens’ needs and thus prevent the long-term alleviation of poverty and other social problems. I argue that the implications of this “lack of government responsiveness argument” (or LOGRA) are both broader and narrower than they might (...)
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  8. Being Good in a World of Need: Some Empirical Worries and an Uncomfortable Philosophical Possibility.Larry S. Temkin - 2019 - Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (1):1-23.
    In this article, I present some worries about the possible impact of global efforts to aid the needy in some of the world’s most desperate regions. Among the worries I address are possible unintended negative consequences that may occur elsewhere in a society when aid agencies hire highly qualified local people to promote their agendas; the possibility that foreign interests and priorities may have undue influence on a country’s direction and priorities, negatively impacting local authority and autonomy; and the related (...)
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  9. On Satisfying Duties to Assist.Christian Barry & Holly Lawford-Smith - 2019 - In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    In this paper, we take up the question of whether there comes a point at which one is no longer morally obliged to do further good, even at very low cost to oneself. More specifically, they ask: under precisely what conditions is it plausible to say that that “point” has been reached? A crude account might focus only on, say, the amount of good the agent has already done, but a moment’s reflection shows that this is indeed too crude. We (...)
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  10. Each-We Dilemmas and Effective Altruism.Theron Pummer & Matthew Clark - 2019 - Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (1):24-32.
    In his interesting and provocative article ‘Being Good in a World of Need’, Larry Temkin argues for the possibility of a type of Each-We Dilemma in which, if we each produce the most good we can individually, we produce a worse outcome collectively. Such situations would ostensibly be troubling from the standpoint of effective altruism, the project of finding out how to do the most good and doing it, subject to not violating side-constraints. We here show that Temkin’s argument is (...)
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  11. Effective Altruism.Theron Pummer & William MacAskill - forthcoming - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
    In this entry, we discuss both the definition of effective altruism and objections to effective altruism, so defined.
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  12. Charity and Partiality.Theron Pummer - 2019 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Ethics and the Contemporary World. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 121-132.
    Many of us give to charities that are close to our hearts rather than those that would use our gifts to do more good, impartially considered. Is such partiality to charities acceptable? I argue that if partiality to particular people is justified, we can go SOME distance toward justifying partiality to particular charities. Even so, partiality to charities is justified in fewer cases than most people seem to believe.
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  13. Review of The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. [REVIEW]Theron Pummer - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):426-429.
    The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. Edited by Woodruff Paul.
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  14. How To Be Rational: How to Think and Act Rationally.David Robert - manuscript
    This book is divided into 4 chapters. In Chapters 1 and 2, I address (1) how to acquire rational belief attitudes and (2) how to make rational choices. Building on Chapters 1 and 2, I then answer two of the most pressing questions of our time: (3) Should you be skeptical of climate change? (4) Should you invest in life-extension medical research?
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  15. Effective Altruism: How Big Should the Tent Be?Amy Berg - 2018 - Public Affairs Quarterly 32 (4):269-287.
    The effective altruism movement (EA) is one of the most influential philosophically savvy movements to emerge in recent years. Effective Altruism has historically been dedicated to finding out what charitable giving is the most overall-effective, that is, the most effective at promoting or maximizing the impartial good. But some members of EA want the movement to be more inclusive, allowing its members to give in the way that most effectively promotes their values, even when doing so isn’t overall-effective. When we (...)
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  16. Fighting Aging as an Effective Altruism Cause: A Model of the Impact of the Clinical Trials of Simple Interventions.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    The effective altruism movement aims to save lives in the most cost-effective ways. In the future, technology will allow radical life extension, and anyone who survives until that time will gain potentially indefinite life extension. Fighting aging now increases the number of people who will survive until radical life extension becomes possible. We suggest a simple model, where radical life extension is achieved in 2100, the human population is 10 billion, and life expectancy is increased by simple geroprotectors like metformin (...)
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  17. Donation Without Domination: Private Charity and Republican Liberty.Robert S. Taylor - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (4):441-462.
    Contemporary republicans have adopted a less-than-charitable attitude toward private beneficence, especially when it is directed to the poor, worrying that rich patrons may be in a position to exercise arbitrary power over their impoverished clients. These concerns have led them to support impartial public provision by way of state welfare programs, including an unconditional basic income (UBI). In contrast to this administrative model of public welfare, I will propose a competitive model in which the state regulates and subsidizes a decentralized (...)
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  18. But Does It Hurt?Peter Murphy - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1):131-145.
    As effective altruists often point out affluent people can do great good for others without having to make significant self-sacrifices. What is the correct moral assessment of patterns of giving that bring about great good and yet carry little in the way of self-sacrifice? Here I will clarify this question, state why it is important, and argue for an answer to it. After sketching the intuitive category of the morally best acts, I argue that self-sacrifice is not a condition that (...)
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  19. Risky Giving.Theron Pummer - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73 (2):62-70.
    We might worry that Peter Singer’s argument from “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” is unconvincing to non-consequentialists who accept moral constraints against imposing significant risks of harm on individuals. After all, giving to overseas charities often comes with such risks. I argue that plausible non-consequentialist criteria imply that it is not wrong to give to at least some of the charities that Singer and other effective altruists recommend.
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  20. Whether and Where to Give.Theron Pummer - 2016 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (1):77-95.
    Effective altruists recommend that we give large sums to charity, but by far their more central message is that we give effectively, i.e., to whatever charities would do the most good per dollar donated. In this paper, I’ll assume that it’s not wrong not to give bigger, but will explore to what extent it may well nonetheless be wrong not to give better. The main claim I’ll argue for here is that in many cases it would be wrong of you (...)
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  21. Moral Renegades. [REVIEW]Robert Mark Simpson - 2016 - The New Rambler Review 2016.
    This piece is a side-by-side review of two books: Strangers Drowning, by Larissa MacFarquhar, and Doing Good Better, by William MacAskill. Both books are concerned with the question of whether we should try to live as morally good a life as possible. MacAskill thinks the answer is 'yes', and his book is an overview of how the Effective Altruist movement approaches the problem of how to achieve a morally optimal life. MacFarquhar's book is a more descriptive account of the lives (...)
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  22. The Ethical Principles of Effective Altruism.Anthony Skelton - 2016 - Journal of Global Ethics 12 (2):137-146.
    This paper is an examination of the ethical principles of effective altruism as they are articulated by Peter Singer in his book The Most Good You Can Do. It discusses the nature and the plausibility of the principles that he thinks both guide and ought to guide effective altruists. It argues in § II pace Singer that it is unclear that in charitable giving one ought always to aim to produce the most surplus benefit possible and in § III that (...)
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Charitable Giving, Misc
  1. Hunger, Need, and the Boundaries of Lockean Property.David G. Dick - 2019 - Dialogue 58 (3):527-552.
    Locke’s property rights are now usually understood to be both fundamental and strictly negative. Fundamental because they are thought to be basic constraints on what we may do, unconstrained by anything deeper. Negative because they are thought to only protect a property holder against the claims of others. Here, I argue that this widespread interpretation is mistaken. For Locke, property rights are constrained by the deeper ‘fundamental law of nature,’ which involves positive obligations to those in need and confines the (...)
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  2. Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism.William MacAskill - 2019 - Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (1):49-60.
    In the article, ‘Being Good in a World of Need: Some Empirical Worries and an Uncomfortable Philosophical Possibility,’ Larry Temkin presents some concerns about the possible impact of international aid on the poorest people in the world, suggesting that the nature of the duties of beneficence of the global rich to the global poor are much more murky than some people have made out. -/- In this article, I’ll respond to Temkin from the perspective of effective altruism—one of the targets (...)
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  3. Medical Crowdfunding, Political Marginalization, and Government Responsiveness: A Reply to Larry Temkin.Alida Liberman - 2019 - Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (1):40-48.
    Larry Temkin draws on the work of Angus Deaton to argue that countries with poor governance sometimes rely on charitable giving and foreign aid in ways that enable them to avoid relying on their own citizens; this can cause them to be unresponsive to their citizens’ needs and thus prevent the long-term alleviation of poverty and other social problems. I argue that the implications of this “lack of government responsiveness argument” (or LOGRA) are both broader and narrower than they might (...)
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  4. Review of The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. [REVIEW]Theron Pummer - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):426-429.
    The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. Edited by Woodruff Paul.
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  5. Behavioural Public Policies and Charitable Giving.Luc Bovens - 2018 - Behavioural Public Policy 2 (2):168-173.
    Some of the challenges in Sanders et al. (this issue) can be aptly illustrated by means of charity nudges, that is, nudges designed to increase charitable donations. These nudges raise many ethical questions. First, Oxfam’s triptychs with suggested donations are designed to increase giving. If successful, do our actions match ex ante or ex post preferences? Does this make a difference to the autonomy of the donor? Second, the Behavioural Insights Team conducted experiments using social networks to nudge people to (...)
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  6. Charitable Giving (Peter Singer).Pablo Stafforini - 2018 - Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science.
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  7. Donation Without Domination: Private Charity and Republican Liberty.Robert S. Taylor - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (4):441-462.
    Contemporary republicans have adopted a less-than-charitable attitude toward private beneficence, especially when it is directed to the poor, worrying that rich patrons may be in a position to exercise arbitrary power over their impoverished clients. These concerns have led them to support impartial public provision by way of state welfare programs, including an unconditional basic income (UBI). In contrast to this administrative model of public welfare, I will propose a competitive model in which the state regulates and subsidizes a decentralized (...)
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