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Video Series: Larry S. Temkin on Peter Singer, Effective Altruism and Our Obligations to the Needy

What does Peter Singer’s famous ‘pond example’ tell us about our obligations to the world’s needy? Is rescuing a child drowning in a shallow pond really the same as donating money to effective aid organisations? Is it okay to spend large amounts of money on ‘dramatic rescues’ (e.g. after an earthquake, to find perhaps one more person alive…)? Does donating money to poor countries with corrupt regimes do more harm than good? Is the approach of Effective Altruism too narrow? In this interview with Katrien Devolder, Professor Larry S. Temkin (Rutgers) casts serious doubts on views that have been widely accepted for decades.

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1 Comment on this post

  1. Frankie Andersen-wood

    One of the defining features of the Effective Altruism movement is the focus on only donating to the very best charities (the most transparent and cost-Effective). So, while Temkin’s criticisms of ineffective aid organisations are entirely valid – there are too many charities that cannot or do not track where their money is going well enough. But Temkin seems to miss the point that Effective Altruists wouldn’t donate to those kinds of charities.

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