Tobias_Baumann

1750Joined Oct 2016

Comments
97

Thanks! 

An audiobook is a good idea and I'll look into it, though I don't expect it to be done any time soon (i.e. it would at least take several months, I think).

The easiest way to download it as an epub is here.

I agree with this answer.

I don't need to be persuaded to care about animal/insect/machine suffering in the first place.

That's great, because that is also the starting point of my book. From the introduction:

Before I dive deeper, I should clarify the values that underlie this book. A key principle is impartiality: suffering matters equally irrespective of who experiences it. In particular, I believe we should care about all sentient beings, including nonhuman animals. Similarly, I believe suffering matters equally regardless of when it is experienced. A future individual is no less (and no more) deserving of moral consideration than someone alive now. So the fact that a moral catastrophe takes place in the distant future does not reduce the urgency of preventing it, if we have the means to do so. I will assume that you broadly agree with these fundamental values, which form the starting point of the book.

That is, I'm not dwelling on an argument for these fundamental values, as that can be found elsewhere.

Thanks for writing this up! It's great to see more people think about the relationship between animal advocacy and longtermism

It seems important to distinguish between a) the abolition of factory farming and b) a long-term change in human attitudes towards animals (i.e. establishing antispeciesism). b) is arguably more important from a long-term perspective, and it is a legitimate concern cultivated meat (and similar technologies) would only achieve a). 

However, proponents of the "technology-based strategy" usually argue that a) also indirectly helps achieve b), as it allows people to endorse animal rights without cognitive dissonance. I am not entirely sure about this, but it's at least a plausible counterconsideration.

Even without this effect, I don't really understand why you seem to think that abolishing factory farming through non-moral means would cause lock-in. Why can't attitude change / moral progress still happen later?

Thanks! I've started an email thread with you, me, and David.

Thanks for the comment, this is raising a very important point. 

I am indeed fairly optimistic that thoughtful forms of MCE are positive regarding s-risks, although this qualifier of "in the right way" should be taken very seriously - I'm much less sure whether, say, funding PETA is positive. I also prefer to think in terms of how MCE could be made robustly positive, and distinguishing between different possible forms of it, rather than trying to make a generalised statement for or against MCE.

This is, however, not a very strongly held view (despite having thought a lot about it), in light of great uncertainty and also some degree of peer disagreement (other researchers being less sanguine about MCE). 

'Longtermism' just says that improving the long-term future matters most, but it does not specify a moral view beyond that. So you can be longtermist and focus on averting extinction, or you can be longtermist and focus on preventing suffering (cf. suffering-focused ethics); or you can have some other notion of "improving". Most people who are both longtermist and suffering-focused work on preventing s-risks.  

That said, despite endorsing suffering-focused ethics myself, I think it's not helpful to frame this as "not caring" about existential risks; there are many good reasons for cooperation with other value systems.

I'm somewhat less optimistic; even if most would say  that they endorse this view, I think many "dedicated EAs" are in practice still biased against nonhumans, if only subconsciously. I think we should expect speciesist biases to be pervasive, and they won't go away entirely just by endorsing an abstract philosophical argument. (And I'm not sure if "most" endorse that argument to begin with.)

Fair point - the "we" was something like "people in general". 

This makes IRV a really bad choice. IRV results in a two-party system just like plurality voting does.

I agree that having a multi-party system might be most important, but I don't think IRV necessarily leads to a two-party system. For instance, French presidential elections feature far more than two parties (though they're using a two-round system rather than IRV).

Everything is subject to tactical voting (except maybe SODA? but I don't understand that argument). So I don't see this as a point against approval voting in particular.

I think that approval voting has significantly more serious tactical voting problems than IRV. Sure, they all violate some criteria, but the question is how serious the resulting issues are in practice. IRV seems to be fine based on e.g. Australia's experience. (Of course, we don't really know how good or bad approval voting would be, because it is rarely used in competitive elections.)

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