Categorie archief: English texts

The two intrinsic rights that restrict utilitarianism

Let us start with utilitarianism, the ethical theory that says we have to choose the situation or state of the world that has the highest amount of total utility. Total utility is the sum of individual utilities, summed over all … Lees verder

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Person-affecting neutral-range utilitarianism

Summary In many examples, such as procreation, animal farming, climate change and catastrophic risks, our choices not only influence the welfare of other sentient beings in the future, but also influence their very existence. To determine what is the best … Lees verder

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Why we need to herbivorize predators

Let us start with three assumptions that almost everyone (especially animal rights activists) agrees on. First, we value at least one of the following individualistic values (i.e. values that apply to individuals): welfare, well-being, preference satisfaction, autonomy, liberty, health, the … Lees verder

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Unwanted arbitrariness, dictatorship and discrimination

Everyone who makes a choice has to avoid unwanted arbitrariness as much as possible. This is a fundamental principle in ethics, in the sense that it applies to all moral choices. This anti-arbitrariness principle is the reason why dictatorship and … Lees verder

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The problem of possible populations: animal farming, sustainability, extinction and the repugnant conclusion

A personal note Population ethics is terribly difficult. My personal journey started ten years ago with a very simple theory called ‘average utilitarianism’. This theory is simple enough to express in one line: choose the option that maximizes the average … Lees verder

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An ethical minefield. Stepping from the worst to the best population ethical theories

About ten years ago, during my studies in moral philosophy, I encountered the area of population ethics. It is clearly one of the most tricky areas in ethics, a minefield of very counterintuitive conclusions. But it is also one of … Lees verder

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Cost-effectiveness distributions, power laws and scale invariance

The cost-effectiveness of policies, actions and interventions measures how much good is done (how many lives are saved, greenhouse gases are mitigated, diseases are cured, education levels are improved,…) per dollar investment. Cost-effectiveness is often difficult to measure, but sometimes … Lees verder

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Rational altruism and risk aversion

Let’s start with a very hypothetical but tricky dilemma. The importance of this dilemma will become clear at the end. Suppose I give you a choice between two options. If you choose option A, I will save one person. If … Lees verder

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Big is beautiful. On the dangers of too much distrust in big institutions and high-tech solutions.

Imagine a covid19 pandemic without big institutions such as governments, tech companies and pharmaceutical companies. We would rely on personal, voluntary behavioral change such as social distancing and washing hands, added with low tech solutions such as face masks. These … Lees verder

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My top ideas of 2020

Now that 2020 came to an end, it is time to look back and reflect on my top ideas of last year. Top charities In 2020, I focused on effective giving: donating to the most effective charities. I increased my … Lees verder

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