Altruistic wager

Further reading

Baumann, Tobias (2020) An overview of wagers for reducing future suffering, Reducing Risks of Future Suffering, January 31.

An altruistic wager is a type of argument that seeks to establish that an agent should act as though a conclusion is true because, given what we know, that seems to be the right decision from an ethical perspective, even if the conclusion does not actually seem likely to be true. For example, one might argue that one should act as though animals are sentient and are moral patients when deciding whether to be a vegetarian, as long as that has any nontrivial chance of being true, because if it is true the ethical harms of eating meat might very much outweigh the ethical or self-interested benefits. 

alternatives to expected value theory | decision theory | decision-theoretic uncertainty | expected value theory | fanaticism | moral uncertainty | risk-aversion

In future, it'd probably be good to expand this entry to mention Pascal's wager (the original form, not the mugging) as perhaps the most iconic "wager" and as having a similar structure, though not being altruistic.