Matt thinks... (old posts, page 1)

I want to make the world a better place, and I want to do this in the most effective way possible. This way of thinking is known as effective altruism.

I write here about my thoughts about the most effective ways to improve the world - which to me means something like moving towards a flourishing future for all sentient beings.


3 Rs to reduce animal suffering

The debate concerning the use of animals in scientific research is a conflicting one. On the one hand, animals in testing suffer acutely and in large numbers. However, it can be argued that large part of our current position in science and medicine today can be attributed to these tests.

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Buying an expensive car to feed the world

If you buy a luxury car, you are contributing to the wages of all those people whose job it is to design, source raw materials for, and manufacture it, thus feeding them and their family. Surely this a good way to improve the wellbeing of others? In this post, I will discuss why it is probably not.

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Not all charity is equal

In a previous post, I have written about the importance of using an evidence-based approach to determine the most good we can do. One aspect of this is assessing the effectiveness of charities.

When buying a new phone, most people spend some time researching the best phone for their requirements and the best phone they can get for their budget. This is clearly a good thing to do. However, very few people consider how to make the most impact with their donations to charity. We are so careful with the money we spend on ourselves, but don't seem to take that same care over the money we use to do good. Isn't that odd? If we were to buy a phone without looking to buy the best one, we risk being stuck with a clunky phone that cost us too much. However, if we don't research how to make our donations go furthest, people whose lives could have been saved will die. That is how it is. It is not just a matter of getting more for your money, it is literally a matter of life or death*. It is imperative that we start to research how to make the most difference with our donations. In this post, I will discuss how we can determine the most effective charities.

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Effective Altruism

Effective altruism is an area of practical moral philosophy that extends the ideas of altruism, i.e. selflessly doing good things for other people, to determine, through evidence and reason, the most good you can do for other people. It combines both philosophy and the scientific method to determine the most effective way for an individual to improve the world and gives compelling reasoning to incorporate this into their lifestyle.

Charity ain’t giving people what you wants to give, It’s giving people what they need to get.

Terry Pratchett, Hogfather.

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