Book launch: "Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues" (Oxford)

by aarongertler 1mo18th Sep 20194 comments

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Brief news notice only; I haven't read this book or any of its constituent essays, save for those that have been published/shared in other formats.

Oxford University Press just released “Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues” — a compilation of academic essays from philosophers, economists, and political theorists on issues in EA philosophy, with a foreword from Peter Singer.

Description

This is the first collective study of the thinking behind the effective altruism movement. This movement comprises a growing global community of people who organise significant parts of their lives around the two key concepts represented in its name.

Altruism is the idea that if we use a significant portion of the resources in our possession—whether money, time, or talents—with a view to helping others then we can improve the world considerably. When we do put such resources to altruistic use, it is crucial to focus on how much good this or that intervention is reasonably expected to do per unit of resource expended (as a gauge of effectiveness). We can try to rank various possible actions against each other to establish which will do the most good with the resources expended. Thus we could aim to rank various possible kinds of action to alleviate poverty against one another, or against actions aimed at very different types of outcome, focused perhaps on animal welfare or future generations.

The scale and organisation of the effective altruism movement encourage careful dialogue on questions that have perhaps long been there, throwing them into new and sharper relief, and giving rise to previously unnoticed questions. In this volume a team of internationally recognised philosophers, economists, and political theorists present refined and in-depth explorations of issues that arise once one takes seriously the twin ideas of altruistic commitment and effectiveness.


Table of contents

Foreword, Peter Singer
Introduction, Hilary Greaves and Theron Pummer
1. The Definition of Effective Altruism, William MacAskill
2: The Moral Imperative Toward Cost-Effectiveness in Global Health, Toby Ord
3: Evidence Neutrality and the Moral Value of Information, Amanda Askell
4: Effective Altruism and Transformative Experience, Jeff Sebo and Laurie Paul
5: Should We Give to More Than One Charity?, James Snowden
6: A Brief Argument for the Overwhelming Importance of Shaping the Far Future, Nick Beckstead
7: Effective Altruism, Global Poverty, and Systemic Change, Iason Gabriel and Brian McElwee
8: Benevolent Giving and the Problem of Paternalism, Emma Saunders-Hastings
9: Demanding the Demanding, Ben Sachs
10: On Satisfying Duties to Assist, Christian Barry and Holly Lawford-Smith
11: Effective Altruism's Underspecification Problem, Travis Timmerman
12: The Hidden Zero Problem: Effective Altruism and Barriers to Marginal Impact, Mark Budolfson and Dean Spears
13: Beyond Individualism, Stephanie Collins
14: Overriding Virtue, Richard Yetter Chappell
15: The Callousness Objection, Andreas Mogensen

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