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Showing posts from August, 2015

Notes on the Boston Review Effective Altruism Debate [DRAFT]

The original brief essays are here.

General themes of the responses:
"The movement excludes poor people." (so say Deaton, Rubenstein)"Treats symptoms, not the systemic causes."Relatedly: "It is anti-democratic, technocratic."Relatedly: "It lets institutions off the hook.""Evaluation research is too flawed to guide action.""Calculating the right thing to do is creepy."
A short and comprehensive answer to 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 above is: if that's the case, we will change our behaviour without having to alter the philosophy; altering our behaviour in response to evidence is the philosophy. Your evidence isn't yet enough.

1,2,3 all apply to more or less all charities.

I had planned to rank the following by their empirical backing, but unfortunately the Boston Review biases everyone against this; there is but one hyperlink in all 13 essays, and that one broken. I have thus added the dubious honour of their implicit evidence: h…