18 April 2022

Who is the better altruist?

Hede: I recently made a donation of $1,000 to a charity and I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Hart: Really? I recently made a donation of $1,000 to a charity too. Which one did you donate to?

Hede: I gave $1,000 to a charity that provides cost-effective treatment against parasitic worms that plague many people in Africa. I did a fair bit of searching for the most effective charity, and chose this one as it has the greatest impact on people's lives per dollar invested. How about you?

Hart: I gave $1,000 to a charity that provides cuddly teddy bears to sick children in hospital. I was watching this documentary about sick kids, and when I saw what this one charity was doing, well, I just cried. I called them immediately after the program ended to make a donation.

[Adapted from a scenario created by Tadeg Quillien 2022]

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 Who is most concerned about the outcomes of her altruistic act, Hede or Hart?

Who is the most genuine in her altruistic intention

Who is the better altruist out of Hede and Hart? Why?

Who is more likeable person? Why?

What are the most important features of 'good' altruism? Effectiveness? Compassion? Something else?



"Is virtue-signalling a vice?" Tadeg Quillien (2022) https://aeon.co/essays/why-virtue-signalling-is-not-just-a-vice-but-an-evolved-tool 

Effective Altruism: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/

Ethics of care: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_of_care

Compassion & altruism: Steno (2015) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352154615000261  


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