All of Theo Hawking's Comments + Replies

My understanding is that some philosophers do actually think 'consequentialism' should only refer to agent-neutral theories. I agree it's confusing - I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it.

I got into a very stupid argument with my tutor once about whether impartiality was part of the definition of consequentialism so I can attest that some people are wrong about this!
Geoffrey Irving
Aha.  Well, hopefully we can agree that those philosophers are adding confusion. :)

My guess would be yes. I too would really like to see data on this, although I don't know how I'd even start on getting it.

I imagine it would also be fairly worthwhile just to quantify how much is being lost by people burning out and how hard it is to intervene - maybe we could do better, and maybe it would be worth it.

I certainly agree that outside EA, consequentialism just means the moral philosophy. But inside I feel like I keep seeing people use it to mean this process of decision-making, enough that I want to plant this flag.

I agree that the criterion of rightness / decision procedure distinction roughly maps to what I'm pointing at, but I think it's important to note that Act Consequentialism doesn't actually give a full decision procedure. It doesn't come with free answers to things like 'how long should you spend on making a decision' or 'what kinds of decisions ... (read more)

I get the impression many orgs set up to support EA groups have some version of this. Here are some I found on the internet:

Global Challenges Project has a "ready-to-go EA intro talk transcript, which you can use to run your own intro talk" here:

EA Groups has "slides and a suggested script for an EA talk" here:

To be fair, in both cases there is also some encouragement to adapt the talks,... (read more)


I see, I thought you were referring to reading a script about EA during a one-on-one conversation. I don't see anything wrong with presenting a standardized talk, especially if you make it clear that EA is a global movement and not just a thing at your university. I would not be surprised if a local chapter of, say, Citizens' Climate Lobby, used an introductory talk created by the national organization rather than the local chapter.