Aidan Alexander

27Joined Sep 2021


Partial Identification, rest assured I downvoted because your comment is low quality

Exciting stuff! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I agree that the movement has not been systematic enough on cause prioritisation. 

One thing I'm curious about.. where do you draw the line on:

(a) Where one cause ends and the other begins / how to group causes:

For example, aren't fungal diseases, nuclear war and asteroids all sub-causes of global health, in that we only (or at least mainly) care about them insofar as they threaten global health? AI safety is the same (except that in addition to mattering because it threatens health, it also matters because it has the opportunity to bring about happiness). 

(b) Where causes end and interventions begin:

You're measuring the promise of these cause areas in DALYs per $100k, which means you've started thinking about the solutions already. Is CEARCH doing intervention exploration too?

Defenders of objective list theories might object to the previous two monistic theories on the grounds that they are naively simplistic in holding that well-being can be reduced to a single element: life is far more complicated than that (Fletcher, 2013). 

I don't see how this objection makes sense. A desire (or preference) account of wellbeing effectively means that wellbeing is about maximising a very long, potentially infinite, list of values. It's objective list theory that over-simplifies wellbeing by reducing it to a handful of values. 

+1 to this. I've been struggling figure out what seems wrong with every account of wellbeing and every form of utilitarianism I'd come across so far, and the answer was the lack of this account of wellbeing.

Preference utilitarianism, in which a ubiquitous preference is to have quality subjective experiences, and where the quality of subjective experience is understood in terms of tranquilism is by far the most accurate-seeming account of wellbeing I've come across so far

Hi there! Is there anywhere you can direct me to that makes the case that constant replacement occurs? In what sense do we stop existing and get replaced by a new person each moment? What is your reason for believing this? This is stated in the post but not justified anywhere. Apologies if I have missed it somewhere. I also tried googling 'constant replacement', 'constant replacement self', 'constant replacement identity' etc. and couldn't find more on this.

Thank you for your response! Makes sense. I'm not 100% convinced on the last point, but a few of your articles and 80k podcast appearances have definitely shifted me from thinking that E2G is unambiguously the best way for me to maximise the amount of near-term suffering I can abate, to thinking that direct work is a real contender. So thanks!!

The link to "Why do so few EAs and Rationalists have children?" is broken and I can't find it online but am keen to read it. Does anyone know where to find it? Thanks

Hi there! 

I'm a bit confused about the claim that the bottleneck is ways to deploy funding rather than funding itself. 

In global poverty and health cause areas for example, there are highly scalable EA-endorsed interventions like insecticide treated bed nets, deworming and cash transfers, and there are still plenty of people with malaria, children to deworm, and folks below the poverty line who could receive cash transfers. As far as I'm aware, AMF, Deworm the World / SCI and GiveDirectly could deploy more funds, and to the extent that they needed to hire more people to do so, I hypothesise they would be able to easily given that, as I understand it, there is a lot of competition to get jobs at organisations like these. What am I missing?

Thanks in advance!