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  1. Utilitarian voting.Jonathan Baron - manuscript
    Self-interest voting is irrational when it has even a small cost, but it can be rational for those who care about others; its expected utility (EU) may exceed its cost. For cosmopolitan voters (those who care about outsiders), the EU of voting increases with the number of affected others. The EU of voting for the good of the world now and in the future can thus be large. In some cases, the EU of parochial voting (e.g., considering only one's nation) (...)
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  2. The Heart of the Problem with Longtermism (Draft).Ben Bramble - manuscript
    In this critique of longtermism, I attack its Heart, the idea that there is intrinsic value in the addition of each new happy being to the world. I provide new responses to longtermists' two main arguments for the Heart (The Argument from Extinction and The Argument from Miserable Beings). I then sketch an alternative view to longtermism, which I call Future Sentimentalism, a view that does a better job of explaining our future-regarding reasons. Finally, I consider an important objection to (...)
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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Maximal cluelessness.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    I argue that many of the priority rankings that have been proposed by effective altruists seem to be in tension with apparently reasonable assumptions about the rational pursuit of our aims in the face of uncertainty. The particular issue on which I focus arises from recognition of the overwhelming importance and inscrutability of the indirect effects of our actions, conjoined with the plausibility of a permissive decision principle governing cases of deep uncertainty, known as the maximality rule. I conclude that (...)
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  6. Meaning, medicine, and merit.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    Given the inevitability of scarcity, should public institutions ration healthcare resources so as to prioritize those who contribute more to society? Intuitively, we may feel that this would be somehow inegalitarian. I argue that the egalitarian objection to prioritizing treatment on the basis of patients’ usefulness to others is best thought of as semiotic: i.e. as having to do with what this practice would mean, convey, or express about a person’s standing. I explore the implications of this conclusion when taken (...)
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  7. Planning for Pascal's Mugging.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - manuscript
    In "Pascal's Mugging" (Bostrom 2009), Pascal gives away his wallet for an extremely tiny chance of an extremely large reward. In this continuation of Bostrom's story, Pascal's friend counsels him to take into account the possibility of making mistakes about his true expected utilities, and they consider to what extent this will help Pascal make plans to avoid future muggings.
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  8. Are we living at the hinge of history?Will MacAskill - 2022
    In the final pages of On What Matters, Volume II, Derek Parfit comments: ‘We live during the hinge of history... If we act wisely in the next few centuries, humanity will survive its most dangerous and decisive period... What now matters most is that we avoid ending human history.’ This passage echoes Parfit's comment, in Reasons and Persons, that ‘the next few centuries will be the most important in human history’. -/- But is the claim that we live at the (...)
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  9. Is Extinction Risk Mitigation Uniquely Cost-Effective? Not in Standard Population Models.Gustav Alexandrie & Maya Eden - forthcoming - In Jacob Barrett, Hilary Greaves & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    What socially beneficial causes should philanthropists prioritize if they give equal ethical weight to the welfare of current and future generations? Many have argued that, because human extinction would result in a permanent loss of all future generations, extinction risk mitigation should be the top priority given this impartial stance. Using standard models of population dynamics, we challenge this conclusion. We first introduce a theoretical framework for quantifying undiscounted cost-effectiveness over the long term. We then show that standard population models (...)
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  10. Why Not Effective Altruism?Richard Yetter Chappell - forthcoming - Public Affairs Quarterly.
    Effective altruism sounds so innocuous—who could possibly be opposed to doing good, more effectively? Yet it has inspired significant backlash in recent years. This paper addresses some common misconceptions, and argues that the core "beneficentric" ideas of effective altruism are both excellent and widely neglected. Reasonable people may disagree on details of implementation, but all should share the basic goals or values underlying effective altruism.
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  11. Prudential Longtermism.Johan E. Gustafsson & Petra Kosonen - forthcoming - In Jacob Barrett, Hilary Greaves & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    According to Longtermism, our acts’ expected influence on the expected value of the world is mainly determined by their effects in the far future. There is, given total utilitarianism, a straightforward argument for Longtermism due to the enormous number of people that might exist in the future, but this argument does not work on person-affecting views. In this paper, we will argue that these views might also lead to Longtermism if Prudential Longtermism is true. Prudential Longtermism holds for a person (...)
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  12. The Rules of Rescue: Cost, Distance, and Effective Altruism, by Theron Pummer. [REVIEW]Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Mind.
  13. Review of Carol J. Adams, Alice Crary, and Lori Gruen (eds.) The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism, 2023, Oxford: Oxford University Press. [REVIEW]Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Mind.
    Effective altruists (EAs) seek to persuade the globally wealthy to donate a proportion of their income to do good, and specifically to donate it to those charit.
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  14. Compensated Altruism and Moral Autonomy.Theron Pummer - forthcoming - Social Philosophy and Policy.
    It is sometimes morally permissible not to help others even when doing so is overall better for you. For example, you are not morally required to take a career in medicine over a career in music, even if the former is both better for others and better for you. I argue that the permissibility of not helping in a range of cases of “compensated altruism” is explained by the existence of autonomy-based considerations. I sketch a view according to which you (...)
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  15. Mistakes in the moral mathematics of existential risk.David Thorstad - forthcoming - Ethics.
    Longtermists have recently argued that it is overwhelmingly important to do what we can to mitigate existential risks to humanity. I consider three mistakes that are often made in calculating the value of existential risk mitigation. I show how correcting these mistakes pushes the value of existential risk mitigation substantially below leading estimates, potentially low enough to threaten the normative case for existential risk mitigation. I use this discussion to draw four positive lessons for the study of existential risk. -/- (...)
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  16. Pummer, Theron, The Rules of Rescue: Cost, Distance, and Effective Altruism, Oxford University Press, 2023, pp. x+247 (hardback). [REVIEW]Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
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  17. Should longtermists recommend hastening extinction rather than delaying it?Richard Pettigrew - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):130-145.
    Longtermism is the view that the most urgent global priorities, and those to which we should devote the largest portion of our resources, are those that focus on (i) ensuring a long future for humanity, and perhaps sentient or intelligent life more generally, and (ii) improving the quality of the lives that inhabit that long future. While it is by no means the only one, the argument most commonly given for this conclusion is that these interventions have greater expected goodness (...)
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  18. Saving the World Starts at Home.Brandon Warmke - 2024 - Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy 21 (Special):769-785.
    Creating a good home is a form of effective altruism and effective altruists should treat it as such.
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  19. Review of Larry S. Temkin, Being Good in a World of Need. [REVIEW]Brian Berkey - 2023 - Ethics 133 (4):649-653.
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  20. Effective Altruism, Global Justice, and Individual Obligations.Brian Berkey - 2023 - Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy 21:675-692.
    On at least most accounts of what global justice requires, those living in severe poverty around the world are unjustly disadvantaged. Remedying this unjust disadvantage requires (perhaps among other things) that resources currently possessed by well-off people are deployed in ways that will improve the lives of the poor. In this article, I argue that, contrary to the claims of some critics, well-off individuals’ effective altruist giving is at least among the appropriate responses to global injustice. In addition, I suggest (...)
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  21. Better vaguely right than precisely wrong in effective altruism: the problem of marginalism.Nicolas Côté & Bastian Steuwer - 2023 - Economics and Philosophy 39 (1):152-169.
    Effective altruism (EA) requires that when we donate to charity, we maximize the beneficial impact of our donations. While we are in broad sympathy with EA, we raise a practical problem for EA, which is that there is a crucial empirical presupposition implicit in its charity assessment methods which is false in many contexts. This is the presupposition that the magnitude of the benefits (or harms) generated by some charity vary continuously in the scale of the intervention performed. We characterize (...)
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  22. "Diversifying Effective Altruism's Long Shots in Animal Advocacy: An Invitation to Prioritize Black Vegans, Higher Education, and Religious Communities".Matthew C. Halteman - 2023 - In Carol J. Adams, Alice Crary & Lori Gruen (eds.), The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism. New York, US: Oxford University Press. pp. 76-93.
    In “Diversifying Effective Altruism’s Longshots in Animal Advocacy”, Matthew C. Halteman acknowledges the value of aspects of the EA method but considers two potential critical concerns. First, it isn’t always clear that effective altruism succeeds in doing the most good, especially where long-shots like foiling misaligned AI or producing meat without animals are concerned. Second, one might worry that investing large sums of money in long-shots like these, even if they do succeed, has the opportunity cost of failing adequately to (...)
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  23. Solidarity Over Charity: Mutual Aid as a Moral Alternative to Effective Altruism.Savannah Pearlman - 2023 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 33 (2):167-199.
    Effective Altruism is a popular social movement that encourages individuals to donate to organizations that effectively address humanity’s most severe poverty. However, because Effective Altruists are committed to doing the most good in the most effective ways, they often argue that it is wrong to help those nearest to you. In this paper, I target a major subset of Effective Altruists who consider it a moral obligation to do the most good possible. Call these Obligation-Oriented Effective Altruists (OOEAs), and their (...)
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  24. Being Good in a World of Need, Larry S. Temkin. Oxford University Press, 2022, 432 pages. [REVIEW]Marcos Picchio - 2023 - Economics and Philosophy 39 (3):516-521.
  25. 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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  26. High Risk, Low Reward: A Challenge to the Astronomical Value of Existential Risk Mitigation.David Thorstad - 2023 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 51 (4):373-412.
    Philosophy &Public Affairs, Volume 51, Issue 4, Page 373-412, Fall 2023.
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  27. Public Philosophy in Effective Altruism.Brian Berkey - 2022 - In Lee C. McIntyre, Nancy Arden McHugh & Ian Olasov (eds.), A companion to public philosophy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 166–174.
  28. My Goodness: Understanding the Effective Altruism Movement. [REVIEW]Mark Hannam - 2022 - Times Literary Supplement 6207.
    A review of Larry Temkin's critique of effective altruism.
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  29. The Tyranny of Generosity: Why Philanthropy Corrupts Our Politics and How We Can Fix It.Theodore M. Lechterman - 2022 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    The practice of philanthropy, which releases private property for public purposes, represents in many ways the best angels of our nature. But this practice's noteworthy virtues often obscure the fact that philanthropy also represents the exercise of private power. In The Tyranny of Generosity, Theodore Lechterman shows how this private power can threaten the foundations of a democratic society. The deployment of private wealth for public ends may rival the authority of communities to determine their own affairs. And, in societies (...)
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  30. Beyond the Altruistic Donor: Embedding Solidarity in Organ Procurement Policies.María Victoria Martínez-López, Gonzalo Díaz-Cobacho, Belén Liedo, Jon Rueda & Alberto Molina-Pérez - 2022 - Philosophies 7 (5):107.
    Altruism and solidarity are concepts that are closely related to organ donation for transplantation. On the one hand, they are typically used for encouraging people to donate. On the other hand, they also underpin the regulations in force in each country to different extents. They are often used indistinctly and equivocally, despite the different ethical implications of each concept. This paper aims to clarify to what extent we can speak of altruism and solidarity in the predominant models of organ donation. (...)
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  31. Saving the Many or the Few: The Moral Relevance of Numbers.Theron Pummer - 2022 - 1000-Word Philosophy 2022.
    To your left, three strangers are drowning. To your right, one other stranger is drowning. You can effortlessly save the three by throwing a lifebuoy to your left. Alternatively, you can save the one by throwing the lifebuoy to your right. You cannot save all four. What should you do? It’s wrong to do nothing, but is it wrong to save just the one stranger? Are you morally required to save the three? Many claim that, when those you can help (...)
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  32. The Philosophical Core of Effective Altruism.Brian Berkey - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 52 (1):93-115.
    Effective altruism’s identity as both a philosophy and a social movement requires effective altruists to consider which philosophical commitments are essential, such that one must embrace them in order to count as an effective altruist, at least in part in the light of the goal of building a robust social movement capable of advancing its aims. The goal of building a social movement provides a strong reason for effective altruists to embrace an ecumenical set of core commitments. At the same (...)
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  33. 80,000 Hours for the Common Good: A Thomistic Appraisal of Effective Altruism.Ryan Miller - 2021 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 95.
    Effective Altruism is a rapidly growing and influential contemporary philosophical movement committed to updating utilitarianism in both theory and practice. The movement focuses on identifying urgent but neglected causes and inspiring supererogatory giving to meet the need. It also tries to build a broader coalition by adopting a more ecumenical approach to ethics which recognizes a wide range of values and moral constraints. These interesting developments distinguish Effective Altruism from the utilitarianism of the past in ways that invite cooperation and (...)
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  34. Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.
    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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  35. TOMS Shoes: Effective Altruism?Garrett Pendergraft - 2021 - SAGE Business Cases.
    In the one-for-one business model, a purchaser of, for example, a pair of shoes simultaneously purchases a pair of shoes for a child in need. This model, popularized by TOMS shoe company in 2006, has been remarkably successful. The driving force behind the success is most likely the emotional appeal of the one-for-one idea. The TOMS model has been criticized, however—not just for being less effective than advertised, but for arguably doing more harm than good. Whether or not this latter (...)
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  36. Impermissible yet Praiseworthy.Theron Pummer - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):697-726.
    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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  37. Globale Armut bekämpfen. Und wie?!? Der Effektive Altruismus.Stefan Riedener - 2021 - In Bernd Dennemarck, Bernd Goebel & Tobias Hack (eds.), Armut. Würzburg, Germany: pp. 143-169.
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  38. Human Extinction from a Thomist Perspective.Stefan Riedener - 2021 - In Stefan Riedener, Dominic Roser & Markus Huppenbauer (eds.), Effective Altruism and Religion: Synergies, Tensions, Dialogue. Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos. pp. 187-210.
    “Existential risks” are risks that threaten the destruction of humanity’s long-term potential: risks of nuclear wars, pandemics, supervolcano eruptions, and so on. On standard utilitarianism, it seems, the reduction of such risks should be a key global priority today. Many effective altruists agree with this verdict. But how should the importance of these risks be assessed on a Christian moral theory? In this paper, I begin to answer this question – taking Thomas Aquinas as a reference, and the risks of (...)
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  39. Effective Altruism and Religion: Synergies, Tensions, Dialogue.Stefan Riedener, Dominic Roser & Markus Huppenbauer (eds.) - 2021 - Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos.
    Effective altruism has become a worldwide phenomenon. The movement combines empathy and reason in the attempt to improve the world. Adherents don’t let moral gut instincts dictate their altruistic efforts, but use evidence and reflection to do the most good they can. Effective altruism originated, and primarily grew, in strongly secular environments—such as philosophy departments or Silicon Valley. So far, a religious perspective on this movement has been lacking. What can people of faith learn from effective altruism? What may they (...)
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  40. Who is My Neighbour? Effective Altruism, the Good Samaritan, and the Opportunities of the 21st Century.Jakub Synowiec - 2021 - In Stefan Riedener, Dominic Roser & Markus Huppenbauer (eds.), Effective Altruism and Religion: Synergies, Tensions, Dialogue. Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos.
    This article is an attempt to take a philosophical approach to the powerful text of the parable of the Good Samaritan in light of the opportunities of the 21st century. The text starts with presenting variousways in which modern Christians can answer the question “who is my neighbour?” and comparing them to the typical response assumed by the effective altruism movement. On the basis of one of the interpretations, a framework is offered for determining whether the beneficiaries of help in (...)
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  41. Hilary Greaves and Theron Pummer, Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. x + 247. [REVIEW]Amy Berg - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (4):492-495.
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  42. Effectiveness and Demandingness.Brian Berkey - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (3):368-381.
    It has been argued in some recent work that there are many cases in which individuals are subject toconditional obligationsto give to more effective rather than less effective charities, despite not being unconditionally obligated to give. These conditional obligations, it has been suggested, can allow effective altruists (EAs) to make the central claims about the ethics of charitable giving that characterize the movement without taking any particular position on morality's demandingness. I argue that the range of cases involving charitable giving (...)
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  43. 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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  44. The Effective Altruist's Political Problem.Theodore Lechterman - 2020 - Polity 52 (1):88-115.
    Critics of private charity often claim that the well-off should instead assist the disadvantaged through political reform. The present article explores this idea with reference to effective altruism, a powerful new paradigm in the ethics of philanthropy. Effective altruism presses the relatively affluent not only to give generously, but also to subject their practical deliberations to rigorous evaluations of impartiality and cost-effectiveness. The article contends that the movement’s sophisticated methods are not sufficient to overcome the worries of institutionalist critics. At (...)
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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. The Hidden Zero Problem: Effective Altruism and Barriers to Marginal Impact.Mark Budolfson & Dean Spears - 2019 - In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues.
    In this chapter, Mark Budolfson and Dean Spears analyse the marginal effect of philanthropic donations. The core of their analysis is the observation that marginal good done per dollar donated is a product (in the mathematical sense) of several factors: change in good done per change in activity level of the charity in question, change in activity per change in the charity’s budget size, and change in budget size per change in the individual’s donation to the charity in question. They (...)
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  50. 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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