Why Effective Altruists Fear Art, Tom Whyman, δημοσίευση ArtReview [1/12/2022]Marilena Pateraki
We don’t know how our actions will be received in the future – with art, that’s the whole beauty
In recent months, ‘effective altruism’ – alongside the related concept of ‘longtermism’ – has experienced the kind of cut-through in public discourse that no philosophical position can ever really hope to achieve.
Well, I call ‘effective altruism’ a philosophical position. In fact, if you read some of the things written by its proponents, or look at how they’re living their lives (very much intertwined with one another, in service to The Cause), it sometimes comes across as more of an intellectual cult. Effective altruists have started the non-profit 80,000 Hours to convince people to use their careers to serve the movement’s goals. Founded by leading effective altruist William MacAskill, the material on the organisation’s website often reads like the sort of thing you might expect to find in a pamphlet trying to induct you into Scientology, or to get you to become a Jehovah’s Witness: peppering radically oversimplified versions of deeply debatable ethical views with helpful footnotes to additional resources that make you feel clever when you look them up on your own (incidentally, conspiracy theorists also use similar tactics, presenting everything as a sort of autonomous intellectual journey).
At its heart, effective altruism is a form of consequentialism (a term often associated with utilitarianism, though originally coined by Elizabeth Anscombe as a pejorative for it): effective altruists believe that we both can and should rationally calculate how to do the most overall good in the world and then act on the basis of this calculation. Effective altruist philosophers spend lots of their time trying to do things like persuade the very wealthy to buy large quantities of mosquito nets, in order to save lives in areas affected by malaria. ‘Longtermism’ complements this view by asserting that, just as we should not refrain from helping people because they are geographically distant from us (Oxford-resident moral philosophers should offer charity to people living Africa just as readily as they should to people living down the road), nor should we refrain from helping people based on their temporal distance from us: when acting, we should offer (at least) equal weight to the interests of the many billions of people who do not yet exist, but will do years (centuries, millennia) from now.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.