Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues

ISBN : 9780198841364

Hilary Greaves; Theron Pummer
256 ページ
153 x 234 mm

This is the first collective study of the thinking behind the effective altruism movement. This movement comprises a growing global community of people who organise significant parts of their lives around the two key concepts represented in its name. Altruism is the idea that if we use a significant portion of the resources in our possession-whether money, time, or talents-with a view to helping others then we can improve the world considerably. When we do put such resources to altruistic use, it is crucial to focus on how much good this or that intervention is reasonably expected to do per unit of resource expended (as a gage of effectiveness). We can try to rank various possible actions against each other to establish which will do the most good with the resources expended. Thus we could aim to rank various possible kinds of action to alleviate poverty against one another, or against actions aimed at very different types of outcome, focused perhaps on animal welfare or future generations. The scale and organisation of the effective altruism movement encourage careful dialogue on questions that have perhaps long been there, throwing them into new and sharper relief, and giving rise to previously unnoticed questions. In this volume a team of internationally recognised philosophers, economists, and political theorists present refined and in-depth explorations of issues that arise once one takes seriously the twin ideas of altruistic commitment and effectiveness.


Peter Singer: Foreword
Hilary Greaves and Theron Pummer: Introduction
1 William MacAskill: The Definition of Effective Altruism
2 Toby Ord: The Moral Imperative Toward Cost-Effectiveness in Global Health
3 Amanda Askell: Evidence Neutrality and the Moral Value of Information
4 Jeff Sebo and Laurie Paul: Effective Altruism and Transformative Experience
5 James Snowden: Should We Give to More Than One Charity?
6 Nick Beckstead: A Brief Argument for the Overwhelming Importance of Shaping the Far Future
7 Iason Gabriel and Brian McElwee: Effective Altruism, Global Poverty, and Systemic Change
8 Emma Saunders-Hastings: Benevolent Giving and the Problem of Paternalism
9 Ben Sachs: Demanding the Demanding
10 Christian Barry and Holly Lawford-Smith: On Satisfying Duties to Assist
11 Travis Timmerman: Effective Altruism s Underspecification Problem
12 Mark Budolfson and Dean Spears: The Hidden Zero Problem: Effective Altruism and Barriers to Marginal Impact
13 Stephanie Collins: Beyond Individualism
14 Richard Yetter Chappell: Overriding Virtue
15 Andreas Mogensen: The Callousness Objection


Theron Pummer is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at the University of St Andrews. Prior to this he was a Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. His research lies at the intersection of ethical theory and metaphysics, and on the ethics of effective altruism. His work has been published in Analysis, Philosophical Review, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics (Oxford 2017).
Hilary Greaves is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Global Priorities Institute at the University of Oxford. Her main research interests concern issues in moral philosophy, decision theory, and economics. She has also worked on issues of interpersonal aggregation, population ethics (pure and applied), theories of well-being, the interface between ethics and economics, and formal epistemology.