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In Defense of Utilitarianism

First published 26 October 2017. Last updated 26 October 2017. This post addresses a few common arguments against utilitarianism: the utility monster, the experience machine, and the repugnant conclusion (a.k.a the mere addition paradox). The Utility Monster The utility monster is a thought experiment intended to defeat classical utilitarianism. Read about it here. Basically, it goes like … Continue reading In Defense of Utilitarianism

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Why I’m Not a Negative Utilitarian

First published 18 October 2017. Last updated 19 October 2017. Introduction One important philosophical debate in effective altruism, which doesn’t get as much attention as it should, is the divide between negative and non-negative utilitarianism. Brian Tomasik has outlined 3 different versions of negative utilitarianism, which can be arrived at by responding in certain ways to a … Continue reading Why I’m Not a Negative Utilitarian

I Used to Believe: Individual Vegetarians Didn’t Make (Much of) a Difference

First published 25 August 2017. Last updated 27 August 2017. This post is part of the "I Used to Believe" series, introduced here. My History With the Topic I can't recall ever being against vegetarianism. For that matter, I can't recall thinking about vegetarianism at all until around age 13. I had a close vegetarian … Continue reading I Used to Believe: Individual Vegetarians Didn’t Make (Much of) a Difference

How Good Is Bacon, Exactly? [Data]

First published 11 August 2017. Last updated 11 August 2017. A common last-ditch argument against veganism (or vegetarianism, or lacto-vegetarianism, or reducetarianism) goes as follows: The "I'm a utility monster" argument. "I'm a highly intelligent and emotionally sophisticated human, so my interests genuinely matter vastly more than those of lower animals, and eating animal products gives me … Continue reading How Good Is Bacon, Exactly? [Data]

Read This First – My Beliefs

First published 5 July 2017. Last updated 7 September 2017. This post clarifies some of my most important philosophical beliefs, which I take for granted in much of my other writing. I am a consequentialist and a utilitarian. I've written about my flavor of utilitarianism here. In brief, that flavor is {hedonic, non-negative, total, act} … Continue reading Read This First – My Beliefs

Flavors of Utilitarianism

First published 7 March 2017. Last updated 24 October 2017. 1) Why Utilitarianism? I’ll keep this section brief due to space constraints, and because anything I could write here, by virtue of its fundamentality, has a higher probability of being unoriginal to the reader than what will come after. Utilitarianism defeats rival ethical systems partly … Continue reading Flavors of Utilitarianism