Ethics for everyday heroes – from Utilitarianism to Effective Altruism

Open access

Abstract

Effective Altruism is a very new discipline. The first steps towards creating a community were made in 2009. Although the movement is young, it has already changed lives of many people and its popularity continues to rise. The idea of effective altruism is deeply rooted in philosophy, hence to understand it better an attempt will be made to reconstruct and present the philosophical framework of Effective Altruism. This part is intended to show the development of utilitarian thought that led to Effective Altruism. I intentionally limited this reconstruction to the views of Peter Singer, as his philosophy inspired many effective altruists, especially at the beginning of the movement. I have tried to show that his earliest works were the first steps on the way to effective altruism. In the second part selected details of the idea will be referred to in order to show the current state of development of this branch of utilitarianism. In the last part, selected doubts and critical remarks will be presented that might be inspiration to adapt Effective Altruism to specific conditions of Central and Eastern Europe. It will be argued that advocacy for Effective Altruism is a fair way for effective altruists in countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • BENTHAM J. (1789): An Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation. London: T. Payne.

  • BOSTROM N. (2013): Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority. In: Global Policy 4(1) pp. 15–31.

  • GRAY J. (2015): How & How Not to Be Good [online] [Retrieved September 30 2016]. Available at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2015/05/21/how-and-how-not-to-be-good/

  • EUROBAROMETER (2015): Standard Eurobarometer 83 Spring 2015 [online] [Retrieved November 12 2016]. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb83/eb83_en.htm

  • EUROSTAT (2016a): Final consumption expenditure of households by consumption purpose code: tsdpc520 [online] [Retrieved November 12 2016]. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/en/web/products-datasets/-/TSDPC520

  • EUROSTAT (2016b): GDP per capita in PPS code: tec00114 [online] [Retrieved November 12 2016] Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-datasets/-/tec00114

  • MACASKILL W. (2015a): Doing Good Better London: Guardian books.

  • MACASKILL W. (2015b): What is Effective Altruism. In: R. Carey (ed.): The Effective Altruism Handbook. Oxford: Centre for Effective Altruism pp. 11–13.

  • MACMAHAN J. (2016): Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism [online] [Retrieved September 30 2016]. Available at: http://jeffersonmcmahan.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Philosophical-Critiques-of-Effective-Altruism-refs-in-text.pdf

  • MUEHLHAUSER L. (2015): Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism. In: R. Carey (ed.): The Effective Altruism Handbook. Oxford: Centre for Effective Altruism pp. 99–106.

  • SINGER P. (1975): Animal Liberation. New York: HarperCollins.

  • SINGER P. (1972): Famine Affluence and Morality. In: Philosophy and Public Affairs 1(3) pp. 229–243.

  • SINGER P. (1979): Practical Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • SINGER P. (2009): The Life You Can Save. London: Picador.

  • SINGER P. (2015): The Most Good You Can do New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

  • SINGER P. (2000): Writings on an Ethical Life. New York: HarperCollins.

  • UNGER P. (1996): Living High or Letting Die. New York: Oxford University Press.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.35

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.161

Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 961 587 31
PDF Downloads 580 384 42