GUF Abstract Singer Challahn Ethically Sound Discussion

GUF Abstract Singer Challahn Ethically Sound Discussion

GUF Abstract Singer Challahn Ethically Sound Discussion


Effective Altruism

  • Uses evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to benefit others.  It is a cost effective practice, which means that it strives to achieve the most benefit for the least amount of wealth.
  • It asks individuals of financial means to consider all causes and actions and to act in the way that brings the greatest positive impact on the whole, based on his/her values.
  • Evidence based practice relies on scientific evidence for choice-making.  It eventually becomes apparent that a “hierarchy of evidence” has emerged, which serves to make it reasonably clear which of the actions the individual should perform 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

? How might Singer distinguish between effective altruism and philanthropy/charity, utilitarianism?


Counter-factual or Conditional Reasoning—

  • If the wealthy (or potentially wealthy) individual does not perform effective altruism, then who will?

? Is this a false dilemma?


“Room for More Funding”—

  • This argument presses the potential effective altruist giver to not give to a charity that can’t or won’t take on more gifts.

? Is this an ethical position to take?


No Particular Support for Political Movements—

  • Neither anti-capitalist-
  • Nor pro-capitalist.

? Is this approach even possible?  (See Callahan).




EA Projects

  • Move charities from “appealing to the potential givers’ emotions” to “enhancing their own systematic behavior and streamlining their own practices”
  • Sanction the “good feeling” the potential giver has about his/her own life due to giving to others
  • Are we fundamentally driven by our emotions (with regard to (business) ethics), or can reason play an important part in our ethical choices/practices?
  • Millennials (of all people) are well-equipped to employ reason to make financial choices early on in their lives—especially graduate students
  • Matt Wage at Princeton—doctoral student in philosophy—takes a job on Wall Street with the intent of making as much money as he possibly could, again with the intent of giving most of it away
  • EA is a philosophy and social movement which applies evidence and reason to working out the most effective ways to improve the world
  • Altruism/Philanthropy Egoism/Othering


Power Shifting

  • $45B to “promote equality”–Zuckerberg
  • “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative”—No taxes, little oversight
  • Capitalism in the 21st Century (Thomas Piketty)—Suspicion of the Wealthy




Callahan’s Questions:   “Who are the major living donors, Why do they give, What do they think?”

How are “poorer voices” to be heard with the increasing power of the givers?


Implied Terms:                 Othering– Broadly speaking, the term othering should be understood as an undesirable objectification of another person or group. In these social processes, othering is a process of stigmatization that defines another in a negative manner. This comparison/differentiation of the other is often made in the service of one’s own positive alterior identity.                                                                                               In sociological terms, this is about power—making people aware of who holds the power, and hence about the powerful producing the other as subordinate.  Through differentiation of the other from the self (or, the abnormal from the normal), the other becomes, both figuratively and literally, pathological and morally inferior.

These are the terms by which othered subjects gain the sense of their identities as being dependent. Simultaneously, this becomes the ideological framework, in which othered subjects come to understand the world. These are the others that typically represent Gayatri Spivak‟s colonial and postcolonial subjects, who only exist through and against the powerful gaze of the othering discourse.

Hence, in economic terms, the other cannot be given access to knowledge, technology, or economies.  In this process, a manipulative pedagogy is established, which in turn produces a difference between master and native which can later be read off as natural: ‟a difference in human or racial material.”  Knowledge, technology, and economics are the property of the empirical self, not the colonized other.

Egoism– Ethical egoism claims that I morally ought to perform some action if and only if, and because, performing that action maximizes my self-interest. (There are possibilities other than maximization. One might, for example, claim that one ought to achieve a certain level of welfare, but that there is no requirement to achieve more. Ethical egoism might also apply to things other than acts, such as rules or character traits. Since these variants are uncommon, and the arguments for and against them are largely the same as those concerning the standard version, I set them aside).

The ethical egoist will rank as most important those duties that bring her the highest payoff. Standard moral theories determine importance at least in part by considering the payoff to those helped. What brings the highest payoff to me is not necessarily what brings the highest payoff to those helped. I might, for example, profit more from helping the local Opera society refurbish its hall than I would from giving to famine relief in Africa, but standard moral theories would rank famine relief as more important than Opera hall improvements.

If, say, all my preferences favor my ignoring the plight of others, and these preferences do not rest on false beliefs about issues such as the likelihood of receiving help, it seems implausible (and objectionably paternalistic) to claim that “really” my welfare lies in helping others. I may have a duty to help others, and the world might be better if I helped others, but it does not follow that I am better off by helping others.  This is Ayn Rand/Milton Friedman—libertarianism (strong adherence to capitalism).

Philanthropy and Government—“Some see philanthropy as an alternative to government.  I see it as a way to embolden government.  Governments have the authority to drive change in ways that philanthropic organizations cannot.  By leveraging our resources and forming partnerships with government, philanthropic organizations can help push those changes forward” This is Bloomberg via Callahan: notice the distinct use of the word “philanthropy” and not “altruism”.   What is to be made of this?

Altruism and Policy—The New Wealth—new private money and the old economy  


Philanthropy Abstract

                I’m hoping for a thorough interrogation of the various positions these two books take with regard to the ethics of “giving to others.”  For many of you, it will seem a “no-brainer” that, ethically speaking,” we should all (and always) at least consider giving to others (Singer’s position).  However, as Callahan posits, the act of giving (especially by the wealthy) is necessarily an act of power and typically results in further advancing the wealth and force of the giver. 

                What are the issues underlying these claims?  In a ¾ page, single spaced Abstract, flesh out the intricacies as you see them.




Some Questions to Consider:


  • Is Singer an unwitting “Otherist?” Is Callahan suggesting that all givers are “Egoists?”
  • Is there a way to give without emotion? What logical reason is there to give to a dog/cat rescue foundation?
  • “Make a Wish” foundation—Empathy motivated?
  • Category in the mind that determines which one or what to do?
  • What is the role of legality?
  • Detach character from income level. Post traumatic approach to finances and debt—good givers
  • Edward Said—Post Colonialism Gayatri Spivak—Post Colonialism           
  • Exoticism
  • Is William Ackman a positive case for Singer’s EA?
  • Governor mandate #55



The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a charity established and owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan with an investment of 99 percent of the couple’s wealth from their Facebook shares over their lifetime. The organization has been deemed likely to be “one of the most well-funded philanthropies in human history.” Its creation was announced on December 1, 2015, for the birth of their daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg.[1] Priscilla Chan has said that her background as a child of immigrant refugees and experience as a teacher and pediatrician for vulnerable children influences how she approaches the philanthropy’s work in science, education, immigration reform, housing, criminal justice, and other local issues.[4]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s main areas of work include Science, Education, and Justice and Opportunity, which focuses on promoting housing affordability, criminal justice reform, and immigration reform. The mission of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is to “build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone” and to “advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy”.



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