Effective Altruism: Pro and Contra

Антиномии 22 (4):7-31 (2022)
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Abstract

One of the newest and most influential ethical, political and philosophical theory of the XXI century is “effective altruism”. Its basic ideas firstly appeared in the second half of the XX century in the works of the famous utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer, but the real influence the conception obtained in the second decade of the XXI century. The popularity of the concept is ensured by a combination of a humanistic philosophy, on the one hand, and a concentration on its realistic and effective implementation, on the other. The emergence of the effective altruism is connected with the growing disbalances in the globalizing world. At the turn of the XX and XXI centuries, the quality of people’s lives in the most developed countries reached the highest level in history, while the problems of hunger and child mortality in less developed countries of Africa and Asia remained sharp. Effective altruists wonder how is it possible in the modern world. How, from the point of view of morality, one can explain the existence of easily remedied disasters and injustices on our planet? What needs to be done to solve these problems? One of the main problems identified by representatives of effective altruism is the specificity of moral intuitions inherent both in humankind and in each individual. These intuitions may block the moral intentions toward a person in a distance, while promote them toward people who are close. Effective altruists criticize such situation and try to find a solution. The article observes the main stages of the evolution of the concept of the effective altruism. The philosophical foundations of the concept are explored based on the works of the most famous representative of the movement – Peter Singer. The philosophical critique of effective altruism from both deontological and virtue ethical theories is considered.

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