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  1. How To Be Rational: How to Think and Act Rationally.David Robert - manuscript
    This book is divided into 2 sections. In Section 1 (How to think rationally), I address how to acquire rational belief attitudes and, on that basis, I consider the question whether one ought to be skeptical of climate change. In Section 2 (How to act rationally), I address how to make rational choices and, on that basis, I consider the questions whether one is rationally required to do what one can to support life-extension medical research and, more broadly, whether one (...)
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  2. Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background uncertainty (...)
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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. Non-Additive Axiologies in Large Worlds.Christian Tarsney & Teruji Thomas - manuscript
    Is the overall value of a world just the sum of values contributed by each value-bearing entity in that world? Additively separable axiologies (like total utilitarianism, prioritarianism, and critical level views) say 'yes', but non-additive axiologies (like average utilitarianism, rank-discounted utilitarianism, and variable value views) say 'no'. This distinction is practically important: additive axiologies support 'arguments from astronomical scale' which suggest (among other things) that it is overwhelmingly important for humanity to avoid premature extinction and ensure the existence of a (...)
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  5. Back to the Future: Curing Past Sufferings and S-Risks Via Indexical Uncertainty.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    The long unbearable sufferings in the past and agonies experienced in some future timelines in which a malevolent AI could torture people for some idiosyncratic reasons (s-risks) is a significant moral problem. Such events either already happened or will happen in causally disconnected regions of the multiverse and thus it seems unlikely that we can do anything about it. However, at least one pure theoretic way to cure past sufferings exists. If we assume that there is no stable substrate of (...)
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  6. 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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  7. Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics:1470594X2199449.
    How could it be wrong to exploit—say, by paying sweatshop wages—if the exploited party benefits? How could it be wrong to do something gratuitously bad—like giving to a wasteful charity—if that is better than permissibly doing nothing? Joe Horton argues that these puzzles, known as the Exploitation Problem and All or Nothing Problem, have no unified answer. I propose one and pose a challenge for Horton’s take on the Exploitation Problem.
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  8. Impermissible Yet Praiseworthy.Theron Pummer - forthcoming - Ethics.
    It is commonly held that unexcused impermissible acts are necessarily blameworthy, not praiseworthy. I argue that unexcused impermissible acts can not only be pro tanto praiseworthy, but overall praiseworthy—and even more so than permissible alternatives. For example, there are cases in which it is impermissible to at great cost to yourself rescue fewer rather than more strangers, yet overall praiseworthy, and more so than permissibly rescuing no one. I develop a general framework illuminating how praiseworthiness can so radically come apart (...)
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  9. Effective Altruism and Extreme Poverty.Fırat Akova - 2021 - Dissertation, University of Warwick
    Effective altruism is a movement which aims to maximise good. Effective altruists are concerned with extreme poverty and many of them think that individuals have an obligation to donate to effective charities to alleviate extreme poverty. Their reasoning, which I will scrutinise, is as follows: -/- Premise 1. Extreme poverty is very bad. -/- Premise 2. If it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do (...)
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  10. Effective Justice.Roger Crisp & Theron Pummer - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (4):398-415.
    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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  11. 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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  12. Effective Altruism.Theron Pummer & William MacAskill - 2020 - 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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  13. Ein Rückblick auf “Den Mörder von nebenan” (The Murderer Next Door) von David Buss (2005) (Rückblick überarbeitet 2019).Michael Starks - 2020 - In Michael Richard Starks (ed.), Willkommen in der Hölle auf Erden: Babys, Klimawandel, Bitcoin, Kartelle, China, Demokratie, Vielfalt, Dysgenie, Gleichheit, Hacker, Menschenrechte, Islam, Liberalismus, Wohlstand, Internet, Chaos, Hunger, Krankheit, Gewalt, Künstliche Intelligenz, Krieg. Las Vegas, NV, USA: pp. 286-296.
    Obwohl dieser Band ein wenig datiert ist, gibt es nur wenige aktuelle populäre Bücher, die sich speziell mit der Psychologie des Mordes beschäftigen und es ist ein schneller Überblick für ein paar Dollar, also noch wert die Mühe. Es macht keinen Versuch, umfassend zu sein und ist stellenweise etwas oberflächlich, wobei der Leser erwartet, die Lücken aus seinen vielen anderen Büchern und der umfangreichen Literatur über Gewalt zu füllen. Für ein Update siehe z.B. Buss, The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology 2nd (...)
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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. Effectiveness and Ecumenicity.Chong-Ming Lim - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (5):590-612.
    Effective altruism is purportedly ecumenical towards different moral views, charitable causes, and evidentiary methods. I argue that effective altruists’ criticisms of purportedly less effective charities are inconsistent with their commitment to ecumenicity. Individuals may justifiably support charities other than those recommended by effective altruism. If effective altruists take their commitment to ecumenicity seriously, they will have to revise their criticisms of many of these charities.
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. Living High and Letting Die.Nicola Bourbaki, Berit Brogaard & Barry Smith - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (297):435 - 442.
    Imagine that your body has become attached, without your permission, to that of a sick violinist. The violinist is a human being. He will die if you detach him. Such detachment seems, nonetheless, to be morally permissible. Thomson argues that an unwantedly pregnant woman is in an analogous situation. Her argument is considered by many to have established the moral permissibility of abortion even under the assumption that the foetus is a human being. Another popular argument is that presented by (...)
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