Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (1):36-59 (2018)

Thomas Sinclair
Oxford University
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 requires one to give to the most cost-effective charity if one is going to make a charitable donation at all, all other things equal. Appealing to a distinction between 'thoroughgoing' and 'half-hearted' non-consequentialism, I argue that their inferences don’t go through, and moreover that this sort of argument in general is unlikely to work as a way to defend effective altruism.
Keywords effective altruism  conditional obligations  consequentialism  non-consequentialism  charity
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DOI 10.1111/papa.12107
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Supererogation and Conditional Obligation.Daniel Muñoz & Theron Pummer - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1429–1443.
Effectiveness and Demandingness.Brian Berkey - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (3):368-381.
Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.

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