Fanaticism is the apparent problem faced by moral theories that rank a minuscule probability of an arbitrarily large value above a guaranteed modest amount of value.[1][2] Some have argued that fanatical theories should be rejected and that this might undermine the case for certain philosophical positions, such as longtermism.

See also Pascal's mugging.

Further reading

Beckstead, Nick & Teruji Thomas (2021) A paradox for tiny probabilities and enormous values, Global Priorities Institute.

Wilkinson, Hayden (2022) In defense of fanaticism, Ethics, vol. 132, pp. 445–477.

Wiblin, Robert & Keiran Harris (2021) Christian Tarsney on future bias and a possible solution to moral fanaticism, 80,000 Hours, May 5.

alternatives to expected value theory | altruistic wager | decision theory | decision-theoretic uncertainty | expected value | moral uncertainty | naive vs. sophisticated consequentialism | risk aversion

  1. ^

    Wilkinson, Hayden (2022) In defense of fanaticism, Ethics, vol. 132, pp. 445–477.

  2. ^

    Tarsney, Christian (2020) The epistemic challenge to longtermism, Global Priorities Institute, section 6.2.