9 found
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  1. On the desire to make a difference.Hilary Greaves, Andreas Mogensen, William MacAskill & Teruji Thomas - manuscript
    True benevolence is, most fundamentally, a desire that the world be better. It is natural and common, however, to frame thinking about benevolence indirectly, in terms of a desire to make a difference to how good the world is. This would be an innocuous shift if desires to make a difference were extensionally equivalent to desires that the world be better. This paper shows that at least on some common ways of making a “desire to make a difference” precise, this (...)
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  2. What Should We Agree on about the Repugnant Conclusion?Stephane Zuber, Nikhil Venkatesh, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Christian Tarsney, H. Orri Stefánsson, Katie Steele, Dean Spears, Jeff Sebo, Marcus Pivato, Toby Ord, Yew-Kwang Ng, Michal Masny, William MacAskill, Nicholas Lawson, Kevin Kuruc, Michelle Hutchinson, Johan E. Gustafsson, Hilary Greaves, Lisa Forsberg, Marc Fleurbaey, Diane Coffey, Susumu Cato, Clinton Castro, Tim Campbell, Mark Budolfson, John Broome, Alexander Berger, Nick Beckstead & Geir B. Asheim - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (4):379-383.
    The Repugnant Conclusion served an important purpose in catalyzing and inspiring the pioneering stage of population ethics research. We believe, however, that the Repugnant Conclusion now receives too much focus. Avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion should no longer be the central goal driving population ethics research, despite its importance to the fundamental accomplishments of the existing literature.
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  3. Longtermist Institutional Reform.Tyler John & William MacAskill - 2021 - In Natalie Cargill & Tyler M. John (eds.), The Long View: Essays on Policy, Philanthropy, and the Long-term Future. London: FIRST.
    In all probability, future generations will outnumber us by thousands or millions to one. In the aggregate, their interests therefore matter enormously, and anything we can do to steer the future of civilization onto a better trajectory is of tremendous moral importance. This is the guiding thought that defines the philosophy of longtermism. Political science tells us that the practices of most governments are at stark odds with longtermism. But the problems of political short-termism are neither necessary nor inevitable. In (...)
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  4. 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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  5. The Evidentialist's Wager.William MacAskill, Aron Vallinder, Caspar Oesterheld, Carl Shulman & Johannes Treutlein - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (6):320-342.
    Suppose that an altruistic agent who is uncertain between evidential and causal decision theory finds herself in a situation where these theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one's bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of (...)
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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. When should an effective altruist donate?William MacAskill - manuscript
    Effective altruism is the use of evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to maximize positive impact on others with a given unit of resources, and the taking of action on that basis. It’s a philosophy and a social movement that is gaining considerable steam in the philanthropic world. For example, GiveWell, an organization that recommends charities working in global health and development and generally follows effective altruist principles, moves over $90 million per year to its top recommendations. Giving (...)
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  8. The paralysis argument.William MacAskill & Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    Given plausible assumptions about the long-run impact of our everyday actions, we show that standard non-consequentialist constraints on doing harm entail that we should try to do as little as possible in our lives. We call this the Paralysis Argument. After laying out the argument, we consider and respond to a number of objections. We then suggest what we believe is the most promising response: to accept, in practice, a highly demanding morality of beneficence with a long-term focus. GPI Working (...)
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  9. The Moral Case for Long-Term Thinking.Hilary Greaves, William MacAskill & Elliott Thornley - 2021 - In Natalie Cargill & Tyler M. John (eds.), The Long View: Essays on Policy, Philanthropy, and the Long-term Future. London: FIRST. pp. 19-28.
    This chapter makes the case for strong longtermism: the claim that, in many situations, impact on the long-run future is the most important feature of our actions. Our case begins with the observation that an astronomical number of people could exist in the aeons to come. Even on conservative estimates, the expected future population is enormous. We then add a moral claim: all the consequences of our actions matter. In particular, the moral importance of what happens does not depend on (...)
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