Essays in Philosophy 18 (1):91-106 (2017)

Authors
Kathryn Muyskens
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Abstract
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 cost-benefit analysis and randomized controlled trials favored by the movement can produce distinctly biased perceptions that leave effective altruists blind to the political dimensions of many types of harm. Balancing ascetic approaches to combating suffering may temper the overzealous focus on cost-effective charities and make room for the support of the causes this narrow focus excludes. Ultimately, this paper defends the basic tenets of effective altruism: that we have a duty to reduce suffering in the world and that we should apply our powers of reason in order to make our labors maximally effective.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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DOI 10.7710/1526-0569.1575
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References found in this work BETA

Effective Altruism and its Critics.Iason Gabriel - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (4):457-473.
The Ethical Principles of Effective Altruism.Anthony Skelton - 2016 - Journal of Global Ethics 12 (2):137-146.
Responsibilities for Poverty-Related Ill Health.Thomas W. Pogge - 2002 - Ethics and International Affairs 16 (2):71-79.
Is Ethical Consumerism an Impermissible Form of Vigilantism?Waheed Hussain - 2012 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 40 (2):111-143.
Aid Agencies: The Epistemic Question.Keith Horton - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (1):29-43.

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