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  1. Secrecy in consequentialism: A defence of esoteric morality.Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek & Peter Singer - 2010 - Ratio 23 (1):34-58.
    Sidgwick's defence of esoteric morality has been heavily criticized, for example in Bernard Williams's condemnation of it as 'Government House utilitarianism.' It is also at odds with the idea of morality defended by Kant, Rawls, Bernard Gert, Brad Hooker, and T.M. Scanlon. Yet it does seem to be an implication of consequentialism that it is sometimes right to do in secret what it would not be right to do openly, or to advocate publicly. We defend Sidgwick on this issue, and (...)
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  • Better never to have been: the harm of coming into existence.David Benatar - 2006 - New York ;: Oxford University Press.
    Better Never to Have Been argues for a number of related, highly provocative, views: (1) Coming into existence is always a serious harm. (2) It is always wrong to have children. (3) It is wrong not to abort fetuses at the earlier stages of gestation. (4) It would be better if, as a result of there being no new people, humanity became extinct. These views may sound unbelievable--but anyone who reads Benatar will be obliged to take them seriously.
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  • Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  • How Much Should Governments Pay to Prevent Catastrophes? Longtermism's Limited Role.Carl Shulman & Elliott Thornley - forthcoming - In Jacob Barrett, Hilary Greaves & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    Longtermists have argued that humanity should significantly increase its efforts to prevent catastrophes like nuclear wars, pandemics, and AI disasters. But one prominent longtermist argument overshoots this conclusion: the argument also implies that humanity should reduce the risk of existential catastrophe even at extreme cost to the present generation. This overshoot means that democratic governments cannot use the longtermist argument to guide their catastrophe policy. In this paper, we show that the case for preventing catastrophe does not depend on longtermism. (...)
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  • The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism.Carol J. Adams, Alice Crary & Lori Gruen (eds.) - 2023 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
    Deeply rooted structures of racism, ableism, misogyny, ageism, and transphobia hurt great numbers of people, exposing them to intolerance, economic exclusion, and physical harm around the globe. Billions of land animals suffer and die annually in concentrated feeding operations and slaughterhouses. Our planet and all who live here are in perilous straights as the climate changes. In the face of such grievous problems, people who want to find positive ways to respond often grapple with difficult questions about how to make (...)
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  • Conditional Reasons and the Procreation Asymmetry.Johann Frick - 2020 - Philosophical Perspectives 34 (1):53-87.
    This paper sketches a theory of the reason‐giving force of well‐being that allows us to reconcile our intuitions about two of the most recalcitrant problem cases in population ethics: Jan Narveson's Procreation Asymmetry and Derek Parfit's Non‐Identity Problem. I show that what has prevented philosophers from developing a theory that gives a satisfactory account of both these problems is their tacit commitment to a teleological conception of well‐being, as something to be ‘promoted’. Replacing this picture with one according to which (...)
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  • Morality by Degrees: Reasons Without Demands.Alastair Norcross - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    Alastair Norcross argues that the basic judgments of morality are essentially comparative: alternatives are judged to be better or worse than each other. Notions such as right and wrong are not part of the fundamental subject matter of moral theory, but are constructed in a context-relative fashion out of the basic comparative judgments.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Causing People to Exist and Saving People’s Lives.Jeff McMahan - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (1):5-35.
    Most people are skeptical of the claim that the expectation that a person would have a life that would be well worth living provides a reason to cause that person to exist. In this essay I argue that to cause such a person to exist would be to confer a benefit of a noncomparative kind and that there is a moral reason to bestow benefits of this kind. But this conclusion raises many problems, among which is that it must be (...)
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  • Doing good better : how effective altruism can help you make a difference.William MacAskill - 2015 - New York, USA: Gotham Books.
    The cofounder of the Effective Altruism movement presents a counterintuitive approach anyone can use to make a difference in the world. While studying philosophy at Oxford University and trying to work out how he could have the greatest impact, William MacAskill discovered that most of the time and money aimed at making the world a better place achieves little. Why? Because individuals rarely have enough information to make the best choices. Confronting this problem head-on, MacAskill developed the concept of effective (...)
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  • Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.David Benatar - 2009 - Human Studies 32 (1):101-108.
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  • Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism.Jeff McMahan - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73:92-99.
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  • Rethinking the Asymmetry.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2):167-177.
    According to the Asymmetry, we’ve strong moral reason to prevent miserable lives from coming into existence, but no moral reason to bring happy lives into existence. This procreative asymmetry is often thought to be part of commonsense morality, however theoretically puzzling it might prove to be. I argue that this is a mistake. The Asymmetry is merely prima facie intuitive, and loses its appeal on further reflection. Mature commonsense morality recognizes no fundamental procreative asymmetry. It may recognize some superficially similar (...)
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  • 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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  • Willpower Satisficing.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - Noûs 53 (2):251-265.
    Satisficing Consequentialism is often rejected as hopeless. Perhaps its greatest problem is that it risks condoning the gratuitous prevention of goodness above the baseline of what qualifies as "good enough". I propose a radical new willpower-based version of the view that avoids this problem, and that better fits with the motivation of avoiding an excessively demanding conception of morality. I further demonstrate how, by drawing on the resources of an independent theory of blameworthiness, we may obtain a principled specification of (...)
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  • The Rules of Rescue: Cost, Distance, and Effective Altruism.Theron Pummer - 2023 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    When do you have to sacrifice life and limb, time and money, to prevent harm to others? When must you save more people rather than fewer? These questions might arise in emergencies involving strangers drowning or trapped in burning buildings, but they also arise in our everyday lives, in which we confront opportunities to donate time or money to help distant strangers in need of food, shelter, or medical care. With the resources available, we can provide more help--or less. -/- (...)
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  • The Institutional Critique of Effective Altruism.Brian Berkey - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (2):143-171.
    In recent years, the effective altruism movement has generated much discussion about the ways in which we can most effectively improve the lives of the global poor, and pursue other morally important goals. One of the most common criticisms of the movement is that it has unjustifiably neglected issues related to institutional change that could address the root causes of poverty, and instead focused its attention on encouraging individuals to direct resources to organizations that directly aid people living in poverty. (...)
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  • Effective Altruism and its Critics.Iason Gabriel - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (3):457-473.
    Effective altruism is a philosophy and a social movement that aims to revolutionise the way we do philanthropy. It encourages individuals to do as much good as possible, typically by contributing money to the best-performing aid and development organisations. Surprisingly, this approach has met with considerable resistance among activists and aid providers who argue that effective altruism is insensitive to justice insofar as it overlooks the value of equality, urgency and rights. They also hold that the movement suffers from methodological (...)
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  • The Aid That Leaves Something to Chance.Kenneth Walden - 2014 - Ethics 124 (2):231-241.
    I argue that a crucial point has been overlooked in the debate over the “numbers problem.” The initial arrangement of parties in the problem can be thought of as chancy, and whatever considerations of fairness recommend the reliance on something like a coin toss in approaching this problem equally recommend treating the initial distribution as a kind of lottery. This fact, I suggest, undermines one of the principal arguments against saving the greater number.
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  • Social Beneficence.Jacob Barrett - manuscript
    A background assumption in much contemporary political philosophy is that justice is the first virtue of social institutions, taking priority over other values such as beneficence. This assumption is typically treated as a methodological starting point, rather than as following from any particular moral or political theory. In this paper, I challenge this assumption. To frame my discussion, I argue, first, that justice doesn’t in principle override beneficence, and second, that justice doesn’t typically outweigh beneficence, since, in institutional contexts, the (...)
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  • Astronomical Waste: The Opportunity Cost of Delayed Technological Development: Nick Bostrom.Nick Bostrom - 2003 - Utilitas 15 (3):308-314.
    With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore a corresponding opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for standard utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace of technological (...)
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  • .Anthony A. Barrett - unknown
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