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Neil Sinhababu
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Location: August 5th to 7th, University of California, Berkeley Abstract Deadline: July 10th Contact: Overview The 2016 Effective Altruism Global Research Meeting is an opportunity for Postgraduate students and early stage academics from a variety of disciplines to present... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2016 at PEA Soup
Second Annual Conference — Call For Papers, Submission Deadline: August 1, 2014 The second annual Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks (AGENT) will take place on October 10-11, 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin. We are pleased to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at PEA Soup
Tripled my money :) Betting on Nancy Pelosi pays well.
1 reply
Welcome to the blog, Jason! This is an interesting issue. I think Brian's broadly consequentialist point is right. Betty's strange satisfaction doesn't outweigh the life that Alf's kidney transplant would save, but it might outweigh the good from voting. If is right, it doesn't seem to matter very much whether Alf is a person who intends to perform a supererogatory action or a mechanical process of some kind. All that matters is the outcome that Alf would produce, and that Betty will avert. In Dale's case where Alf is thinking about donating a kidney, it would be wrong to pay him not to, just as it would be wrong to interrupt a mechanical process that was about to crank out a replacement kidney and save someone's life. But in your voting case where the consequences of Alf's actions are negligible, it wouldn't be wrong to interrupt a mechanical process that would generate a vote. (This is a bit of a weird case to consider, because mechanical processes themselves don't have a right to vote. But suppose some political community gave a bonus vote to a computer that would make calculations based on economic data, if it happened to be turned on at the time. In a case where the likelihood of the computer deciding the election was sufficiently miniscule, shutting the computer off wouldn't be wrong.) Are there cases in which it's going to matter that Alf is a person and not some kind of mechanical process?