27 karmaJoined May 2023


I'm not entirely sure whether your point here is in agreement or disagreement with my previous statement. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you're saying something along the lines of:

"students aren't taking immediate action and are only going over theory, thus the community building efforts focused on theory must be open-minded and don't represent field building"

If that's the case, I don't see the complete logic of how because it 'can' work out that way that it 'must', and the ambiguity is what I'm focused on and would like more evidence on. Success metrics in my experience or uni groups particularly focus on participation rather than depth/retention of engagement.

I like this idea. I do wonder to what extent EA is implemented more as a field-building exercise, getting others to act on their previously determined conclusions, rather than promoting the self-determination of individuals through education on rationality, epistemics, and philosophy to guide action.

I am wondering whether people view EA vs. cause-specific field-building differently, especially about the Scout Mindset. My general thoughts are:

EA - Focuses on providing knowledge and evidence to facilitate the self-determination of individuals to rationally weigh up the evidence provided to decide on updating beliefs to inform actions wherever they may go. Scout Mindset is intrinsically valuable to provide flexibility and to update beliefs and work on the beliefs that individuals hold.

Field-Building - Focusing on convincing people that this is a cause area worth working on and will have a significant impact; less focus on individual thoughts based on the strength of the arguments and evidence field-builders already possess. Scout Mindset is instrumentally valuable to update and work on the beliefs that field-builders hold.

Argument for Instrumental value:

A more instrumental perspective is that it is much easier to ask someone to understand one thing and act on it rather than understand many things and struggle to act on any, which may be counterfactually more impactful.

Argument for Intrinsic value:

By focusing on the intrinsic value you're measuring for the internal change process that occurs in EA to see and understand the reason behind different cultural shifts across time with specific emphasis on the potential for value-drift. 

The core difference between the two, as I see it, is whether the community builder focuses on promoting the individual or the cause. However, this may be an oversimplification or unfair misrepresentation and I am keen to hear the community's views.