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Virtues for Real-World Utilitarians

I appreciate the links, these are exactly what I was looking for!  I'll be browsing through them as I get some time! 

It seems like you're on the "expert-master scale" to my "novice - apprentice" level.  Philosophy ultimately won't ever be much more than a fun hobby of mine, but I've always loved diving into some of the deeper stuff. Would you be open to me reaching out and talking with you as I comb through this and come up with questions? 

I understand you're probably busy, so if you have recommendations for some other resources or places to engage people with ideas like this (even if just to read what they write), I would appreciate those too!

Virtues for Real-World Utilitarians

I'm afraid that despite professing to be a utilitarian, I'm far from an expert. If you've got a moment, could you help me poke a little more into a niche section of this?

Is there some overlap between Hare's two-level utilitarian framework and what is being proposed in this article? It doesn't seem like they're arguing directly for a framework, more explaining why and how they chose their virtues. 

I've always found virtue ethics interesting, my first foray into reading philosophy on my own was focused on it, and I wouldn't have really described myself as a utilitarian until my later teens. 

When I stumbled across Hare's arguments, I began to think about ways to reconcile his "archangel and prole" analogy with the way we tend to primarily communicate (at least in my view) via intuitions and stories regarding character virtues. 

I've done some basic searching, nothing too in-depth.  I haven't really found much engagement. Do you have any ideas for further reading? I'd be interested in reading other examples of what people think of for utilitarian virtues! 

Updating on Nuclear Power

Not here to weigh in on the pro/anti nuclear arguments.

I just wanted to thank you for posting and engaging with the forum about your thoughts! I think that this style of post is one of the most useful because it leads to a better understanding for all involved. 

Consider Changing Your Forum Username to Your Real Name

I'm sure you've all seen the EA hub post that was put up about a month ago.  But it's worth re-stating that it's hard to find someone specific in EA sometimes. 

I sometimes use the forum when I'm trying to get in contact with people, primarily by searching their name! 

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

I also filled out the form, so apologies if this is a double entry! 

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Cotton Bot 

Economic growth

Problem: In 2021, a mere 30% of the world’s cotton harvest was gathered by machinery. This means
that over 60% of the 2021 worldwide supply of cotton was harvested using the same methods as
American slaves in the 1850’s. A significant amount of the hand harvesting includes forced labor.

Solution: The integration of existing technologies can provide a modular, robust, swarming team of
small-scale, low-cost harvesters. Thoughtful system design will ensure the harvesters are simple to
operate and maintain while still containing leading edge technical capability.

How to: The project is focused on developing a single row, robotic harvester that meets key
performance parameters and system attributes to allow operation in the most technologically remote
areas of the world with little or no logistics tail. The single row harvesters can intuitively communicate to swarm harvest in teams from two to two hundred independent systems.

Background: My father has been the Aviation and Remote Systems Program Manager (US Army Core of Engineers) for a few years now. We have been talking about how much cotton gets wasted in the field near our house for years now, but this grant strikes me as a perfect to see if a prototype could be built. 


 1. He is not an EA (though he is adjacent, mostly from my prodding), so it's an opportunity to drag a non-EA to work on our projects.  

2. He has no desire to develop the business after making prototype and proving use case, so the patent would come back to the FTX future fund as investors. 

3. He has a lot of experience doing exactly this, so he will most likely be able to execute. 


 1. It's expensive because he intends to hire employees to work on it full time. 

2. He isn't an EA, so he may not perfectly represent EA interests in this (somewhat mitigated because I will also be working on it.)

3. He has no desire to develop the business after making, so we'll have to have someone do that (or give away the tech for free.) 

His name is REDACTED, and he works at the US Army Core of Engineers in case anyone wants to look him up! 

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

I had a similar idea, and I think that a few more things need to be included in the discussion of this. 

There are multiple levels of ideas in EA, and I think that a red team becomes much more valuable when they are engaging with issues that are applicable to the whole of EA. 

I think ideas like the institutional critique of EA, the other heavy tail, and others are often not read and internalized by EAs. I think it is worth having a team that makes arguments like this, then breaks them down and provides methods for avoiding the pitfalls pointed out in them. 

Things brought up in critique of EA should be specifically recognized and talked about as good. These ideas should be recognized, held up to be examined, then passed out to our community so that we can grow and overcome the objections. 

I'm almost always lurking on the forum, and I don't often see posts talking about EA critiques. 

That should change. 

Cost-Effectiveness of Air Purifiers against Pollution

Led to personal lifestyle changes, bought an air purifier and gave them as gifts to friends and family. 

The S&P 500 Will Drop Below 3029 Before July 16 (65 percent confidence)

Glad I'm not the only one who sees it! I'm a low risk style investor, but I've sold everything I have and I'm doing cash covered put spreads, We'll see how it all turns out. 

Good altruistic decision-making as a deep basin of attraction in meme-space

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I don't know if altruistic, truth seeking, and self aware are all necessary requirements though.   It seems very much so to me that we're never going to be able to convince the vast majority of people to have the excited attitude about EA that most of us do now. Maybe the right focus of the "altruism" meme like this should be on spreading the first two, altruistic and truth seeking. 

Self awareness seems almost contrary to the idea of a meme like this, given that it relies on the spreading without too much questioning.   Ideas with altruistic frameworks have done well in the past, i.e. ALS ice bucket challenge, but I don't know how you would go about including a second idea into the existing matrix of a meme like that. 

A scientific approach to memetics, I love our weird ideas! 

Keep up the good posts Owen!

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