Counterfactual reasoning involves scenarios that will occur if an agent chooses a certain action, or that would have occurred if an agent had chosen an action they did not. For instance, we can consider a counterfactual scenario in which the effective altruism community was called ‘effective giving’ rather than effective altruism.

When we rank actions, we generally want to consider not just how good an action is, but how good it is relative to the alternatives. This is implicitly assumed by the framework of idealized decision making, but it is useful to state it explicitly.

One related heuristic is replaceability: it may be the case, for instance, that if you do not take a certain action, then someone else will take it instead....

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