Darius_M

1584Washington, DC, USAJoined Dec 2016

Bio

I got involved in EA in 2015, took the GWWC pledge in 2016, and founded and led a German EA student group in 2016/17.

Between 2017 and 2020, I completed a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford, where I helped lead the EA Oxford student group for two years.

I did EA research and community building internships with EAF (2017), CEA (2018) and Charity Entrepreneurship (2019).

Starting in 2019, William MacAskill, James Aung, Richard Yetter Chappell and I created Utilitarianism.net, an introductory online textbook on utilitarianism.

Currently, I study for a master's degree in security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Comments
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Topic Contributions
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I recently had to make an important and urgent career decision and found it tremendously valuable to speak with several dozen wonderful people about this at EA Global SF. I'm immensely grateful both to the people giving me advice and to CEA for organizing my favorite EA Global yet.

Going very broad, I'd recommend going through the EA Forum Topics Wiki and considering the concepts included there. Similarly, you may look at the posts that make up the EA Handbook and look for suitable concepts there.

For inspiration, here are some other examples of TEDx talks given by EAs: 
1. Beth Barnes (2015): "Effective Altruism"
2. Gabriella Overödder (2019): "How Using Science Can Radically Increase Your Social Impact"
3. Linh Chi Nguyen (2020): "5 Lessons for choosing an impactful career"
4. Darius Meissner (i.e., me) (2020): "Our moral duties toward (far) future generations"

Feel free to add others below that I'm not aware of.

At the risk of self-promotion, I wrote a motivational essay on EA a few years ago, Framing Effective Altruism as Overcoming Indifference

Well done! The article receives about 50,000 page views each year, so there are a lot of people out there who benefit from your contribution.

Toby Ord explains several related distinctions very clearly in his paper 'The Edges of Our Universe'. Highly recommended: https://arxiv.org/abs/2104.01191

Copied from my post: Notes on "The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution" (Lieber & Press, 2020)

I recently completed a graduate school class on nuclear weapons policy, where we read the 2020 book “The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution: Power Politics in the Atomic Age” by Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press. It is the most insightful nuclear security book I have read to date and while I disagree with some of the book’s outlook and conclusions, it is interesting and well written. The book is also very accessible and fairly short (180 pages). In sum, I believe more people interested in nuclear security would benefit from reading the book.

In "The Definition of Effective Altruism", William MacAskill writes that 

"Effective altruism is often considered to simply be a rebranding of utilitarianism, or to merely refer to applied utilitarianism...It is true that effective altruism has some similarities with utilitarianism: it is maximizing, it is primarily focused on improving wellbeing, many members of the community make significant sacrifices in order to do more good, and many members of the community self-describe as utilitarians.

But this is very different from effective altruism being the same as utilitarianism. Unlike utilitarianism, effective altruism does not claim that one must always sacrifice one’s own interests if one can benefit others to a greater extent. Indeed, on the above definition effective altruism makes no claims about what obligations of benevolence one has.

Unlike utilitarianism, effective altruism does not claim that one ought always to do the good, no matter what the means; indeed...there is a strong community norm against ‘ends justify the means’ reasoning.

Finally, unlike utilitarianism, effective altruism does not claim that the good equals the sum total of wellbeing. As noted above, it is compatible with egalitarianism, prioritarianism, and, because it does not claim that wellbeing is the only thing of value, with views on which non-welfarist goods are of value.

In general, very many plausible moral views entail that there is a pro tanto reason to promote the good, and that improving wellbeing is of moral value. If a moral view endorses those two ideas, then effective altruism is part of the morally good life." (emphasis added)

The following paper is relevant: Pummer & Crisp (2020). Effective Justice, Journal of Moral Philosophy, 17(4):398-415.

From the abstract: 
"Effective Justice, a possible social movement that would encourage promoting justice most effectively, given limited resources. The latter minimal view reflects an insight about justice, and our non-diminishing moral reason to promote more of it, that surprisingly has gone largely unnoticed and undiscussed. The Effective Altruism movement has led many to reconsider how best to help others, but relatively little attention has been paid to the differences in degrees of cost-effectiveness of activities designed to [in]crease injustice." 
 

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