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  1. Rescue and Personal Involvement: A Response to Woollard.Theron Pummer & Roger Crisp - forthcoming - Analysis.
    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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  2. 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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  3. 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. 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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  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. Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues.Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    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, (...)
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  4. On Satisfying Duties to Assist.Christian Barry & Holly Lawford-Smith - forthcoming - 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Review of The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. [REVIEW]Theron Pummer - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
  9. Collective Obligations and the Institutional Critique of Effective Altruism: A Reply to Alexander Dietz.Brian Berkey - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (3):326-333.
    In a recent article in this journal, Alexander Dietz argues that what I have called the ‘institutional critique of effective altruism’ is best understood as grounded in the claim that ‘EA relies on an overly individualistic approach to ethics, neglecting the importance of our collective obligations’. In this reply, I argue that Dietz’s view does not represent a plausible interpretation of the institutional critiques offered by others, primarily because, unlike Dietz, they appear to believe that their critiques provide reasons to (...)
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  10. Charity Vs. Revolution: Effective Altruism and the Systemic Change Objection.Timothy Syme - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):93-120.
    Effective Altruism encourages affluent people to make significant donations to improve the wellbeing of the world’s poor, using quantified and observational methods to identify the most efficient charities. Critics argue that EA is inattentive to the systemic causes of poverty and underestimates the effectiveness of individual contributions to systemic change. EA claims to be open to systemic change but suggests that systemic critiques, such as the socialist critique of capitalism, are unhelpfully vague and serve primarily as hypocritical rationalizations of continued (...)
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  11. How To Be Rational.David Robert - manuscript
    The core of this paper is divided into 4 sections. In Sections 2 and 3, I address (2) how to acquire rational belief attitudes, and (3) how to make rational choices. Building on Sections 2 and 3, I then answer two of the most pressing questions of our time: (4) Should you be skeptical of climate change? (5) Should you invest in life-extension medical research?
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  12. Reflections of a Philosopher.Thad Botham - 2012 - In What Might Be: Readings in Philosophy. Dubuque, USA: Kendall Hunt. pp. 307-321.
    For anyone teaching undergraduates material related to Peter Singer’s (1972) ‘Famine, Affluence, and Morality’, this chapter is for you. I carefully explain the core of the Affluence Argument, balancing accessibility with rigor. I systematically entertain and undermine the following objections: I can’t save everyone, I reject the conclusion, other people aren’t sacrificing their luxuries, it’s MY money and I don’t work hard so that I have to give it to others, I can’t solve the problem by throwing money at it, (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Effective Altruism and Collective Obligations.Alexander Dietz - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (1):106-115.
    Effective altruism (EA) is a movement devoted to the idea of doing good in the most effective way possible. EA has been the target of a number of critiques. In this article, I focus on one prominent critique: that EA fails to acknowledge the importance of institutional change. One version of this critique claims that EA relies on an overly individualistic approach to ethics. Defenders of EA have objected that this charge either fails to identify a problem with EA's core (...)
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  15. Review of The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers' Perspectives on Philanthropy (Ed. Woodruff). [REVIEW]Brian Berkey - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  16. Are We Conditionally Obligated to Be Effective Altruists?Thomas Sinclair - 2018 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (1):36-59.
    It seems that you can be in a position to rescue people in mortal danger and yet have no obligation to do so, because of the sacrifice to you that this would involve. At the same time, if you do save anyone, then you must not leave anyone to die whom it would cost you no additional sacrifice to save. On the basis of these claims, Theron Pummer and Joe Horton have recently defended a ‘conditional obligation of effective altruism’, which (...)
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  17. 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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  18. Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.
    Most people believe that suffering is intrinsically bad. In conjunction with facts about our world and plausible moral principles, this yields a pro tanto obligation to reduce suffering. This is the intuitive starting point for the moral argument in favor of interventions to prevent wild animal suffering. If we accept the moral principle that we ought, pro tanto, to reduce the suffering of all sentient creatures, and we recognize the prevalence of suffering in the wild, then we seem committed to (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Applied Ethics: An Impartial Introduction.Tyron Goldschmidt & Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
  21. 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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  22. An Unfortunate State of Affairs.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Philosophers Take on the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  23. Effective Reducetarianism.William MacAskill - 2017 - In Brian Kateman (ed.), The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet. New York, USA: Penguin Random House. pp. 69-71.
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  24. Doing Good Better : How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference.William MacAskill - 2015 - New York, USA: Gotham Books.
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  25. Banking: The Ethical Career Choice.William MacAskill - 2016 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Philosophers Take on the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 84-86.
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  26. Being Good by Doing Good: Goodness and the Evaluation of Persons.Andreas T. Schmidt - 2017 - Utilitas 29 (1):3-26.
    Does doing good in itself make one a better person? This idea is intuitive yet its precise formulation underexplored. This article first shows that it is not the case that a person is good to the extent that her existence brings about good or to the extent that her actions do good. A proportional principle that evaluates a person according to the expected goodness of her actual course of action relative to the expected goodness of other available courses is shown (...)
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  27. Focus on Fish: A Call to Effective Altruists.Max Elder & Bob Fischer - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    Effective altruists call us to apply evidence-based reasoning to maximize the effectiveness of charitable giving. In particular, effective altruists assess causes in terms of their scope, neglectedness, and tractability, and then recommend devoting resources to the cause that scores best on these criteria. So far, effective altruists concerned with animal suffering have seen these criteria as supporting interventions that improve the lives of layer hens, and they now seem to think that these criteria support directing efforts toward broilers. In this (...)
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  28. Theory-Neutral Arguments for “Effective Animal Advocacy”.Andrew Fisher - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
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  29. Effective Altruism and Anti-Capitalism: An Attempt at Reconciliation.Joshua Kissel - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    Leftwing critiques of philanthropy are not new and so it is unsurprising that the Effective Altruism movement, which regards philanthropy as one of its tools, has been a target in recent years. Similarly, some Effective Altruists have regarded anti-capitalist strategy with suspicion. This essay is an attempt at harmonizing Effective Altruism and the anti-capitalism. My attraction to Effective Altruism and anti-capitalism are motivated by the same desire for a better world and so personal consistency demands reconciliation. More importantly however, I (...)
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  30. Effective Altruism and Christianity: Possibilities for Productive Collaboration.Alida Liberman - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    While many Christians accept the claim that giving to support the poor and needy is a core moral and religious obligation, most Christian giving is usually not very efficient in EA terms. In this paper, I explore possibilities for productive collaboration between effective altruists and Christian givers. I argue that Christians are obligated from their own perspective to give radically in terms of quantity and scope to alleviate the suffering of the poor and needy. I raise two important potential stumbling (...)
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  31. But Does It Hurt?Peter Murphy - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    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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  32. The Other Half of Effective Altruism: Selective Asceticism.Kathryn Muyskens - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    What I seek to do in this paper is to reemphasize what I see as the forgotten or neglected other half of the effective altruist equation. Effective altruists need to take seriously the ways in which their actions contribute to systemic inequality and structural violence. Charitable donation is not enough to create a paradigm shift or stop systemic injustice. In tackling systemic injustice, the ascetic response may allow effective altruists to attack the roots of the problem more directly. Further, the (...)
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  33. Effective Altruism and the Altruistic Repugnant Conclusion.Pellegrino Gianfranco - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    Effective altruism is committed to Altruistic Maximization – the claim that any impact of giving to charities ought to be maximized at the margins and counterfactually. This may lead to counterintuitive or contradictory conclusions in certain cases. For instance, when we can bring about a substantial benefit to few or a tiny benefit to a larger number at the same cost, spreading of benefits across a great number of recipients can compensate substantial loss for fewer people. However, sometimes the perspective (...)
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  34. Peter Singer, R.M. Hare, and the Trouble With Logical Consistency.Southan Rhys - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    According to the metaethics of R. M. Hare, we determine morality objectively by making a moral judgment, committing to the moral principle underlying that judgment, and then logically extending that moral principle to all relevantly similar cases. This metaethical system called universal prescriptivism had a major impact on Peter Singer, whose arguments for radically improving animal welfare and alleviating global suffering frequently rely on Hare-ian appeals to logical consistency. Hare’s work in metaethics is largely rejected now, but Singer’s popularity has (...)
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  35. Effective Altruism: Introduction.William MacAskill - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
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  36. Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism.Jeff McMahan - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73:92-99.
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  37. 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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  38. From “Famine, Affluence and Morality” to Effective Altruism.Peter Singer - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73:60-61.
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  39. Peter Singer. The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. Reviewed By.Klikauer Thomas - 2016 - Philosophy in Review 36 (6):278-280.
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  40. Peter Singer. The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. Reviewed By.Kilkauer Thomas - 2016 - Philosophy in Review 36 (6):278-280.
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  41. Wild Fish and Expected Utility.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics 8 (1):1-6.
    Its difficult to process the number of fish killed annually by the fishing industry. Nevertheless, governments are encouraging people to eat even more fishsee, e.g., the USDA dietary guidelinesand although animal advocates certainly dont concur with this advice, they generally havent prioritized fish in their lobbying efforts. Given the influence of utilitarianism on animal advocacy, the odds are good that this is motivated by an expected utility calculation. For those concerned about fish, is there any way to defend them against (...)
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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. Supporting the Best Charities is Harder Than It Seems.Steven G. Brown - 2016 - Journal of Global Ethics 12 (2):240-244.
    Once upon a time, I attempted to create a web-based one-stop-shop for global poverty relief called the Maximin Project. Drawing on aspects of that experience, I show that although some existing ways of rating and recommending charities are significantly better than others, there remain certain challenges that need to be overcome. Specifically, I argue that the emerging Effective Altruism movement, with its emphasis on measurable effectiveness, runs the risk of neglecting a whole range of projects that are necessary for a (...)
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  45. The Most Good You Can Do: A Response to the Commentaries.Peter Singer - 2016 - Journal of Global Ethics 12 (2):161-169.
    ABSTRACTAnthony Skelton, Violetta Igneski and Tracy Isaacs share my view that our obligations to help people in extreme poverty go beyond what is conventionally accepted. Nevertheless, the other contributors argue that my view is too demanding, while noting some tensions between my different writings on this issue. I explain my position, drawing on Sidgwick’s distinction between what someone ought to do, and what we should praise or blame someone for doing or not doing. I also respond to the position that (...)
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  46. The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. [REVIEW]Travis Timmerman - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264):661-664.
  47. 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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