Auguste Comte invented to term altruism, and defined it to mean “Self-sacrifice for the benefit of others” to “gives a direct sanction exclusively to our instincts of benevolence” and therefore “cannot tolerate the notion of rights, for such a notion rests on individualism.”

That is, an unlimited duty to help others. This sharply contrasts with moderating calls within this movement for self-care, except where that is consequential for others.

A rights, or even utilitarian argument against effective altruism is that any individual can matter for their own sake, as an end unto themselves - even a benefactor, you. 

To concede that the benefactor matters, is a step towards either a more egalitarian social movement than effective altruism, from ethical altruism to utilitarianism, or towards another frame of reference altogether.

Does man have a right to exist for his or her own sake? Or, is service to others, effective service to others, the only justification?

I do want to feel that I am morally the property of others—that others are my moral property. Until I meet an angel, or at least Brian Tomasik in person, I feel uneasy at the thought of a lifelong duty to serve as a principal moral right in the universe, or that intervening to encourage the fulfilment of this obligation is a healthy way to govern human relations. 

“At the centre of the human heart, is the longing for an absolute good, a longing which is always there and is never appeased by any object in this world.” - French philosopher Simone Weil 

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:07 AM

I think the majority of people who interact here aren't strictly just existing to be of service people!

Well I can best speak for myself, I mainly enjoy EA to the extent that I have some % of me or some desire to do some good. I enjoy that EA helps me do good better(even in maybe only certain areas ex. animals).

Your free to choose for yourself to help others if that's what you(or a % of your multiple desires) wants to do! If there is some desire to help others, let's figure out how to help them more effectively!

I doubt that any effective altruists would say that our wellbeing (as benefactors) doesn't matter. Nor is there any incompatibility between the basic ideas (or practice) of effective altruism on one hand, and that there are limits on our duties to help others on the other hand.