The Most Good We Can Do or the Best Person We Can Be?

Ethics, Policy and Environment 23 (2):159-179 (2020)
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We challenge effective altruism (EA) on the basis that it should be more inclusive regarding the demands of altruism. EA should consider carefully agents’ intentions and the role those intentions can play in agents’ moral lives. Although we argue that good intentions play an instrumental role and can lead to better results, by adopting a Hutchesonian perspective, we show that intentions should, first and foremost, be considered for their intrinsic value. We examine offsetting and geoengineering, two so-called solutions to climate change supported by EA, to highlight the limitations of a narrow understanding of altruism.



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Author Profiles

Lisa Broussois
Université paris 1
Michel Bourban
University of Twente

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The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Oxford University Press USA.
Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
The methods of ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - Bristol, U.K.: Thoemmes Press. Edited by Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones.

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