Charitable Giving and Rescue: Conflicting Intuitions towards Effective Altruism




Cory, Walton

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The decision where to donate one’s money set aside for charitable purposes is often overlooked. One view advocated for by effective altruists is that we ought to give our money to charities that do the most good impartially considered. Another is that we should prioritize local charities and community projects when we give. Distinct sets of intuitions support both stances, so which is more ethical to follow? This project seeks to answer this question by considering the origins of the conflicting intuitions. Effective altruists commonly rely on thought experiments concerning rescue in order to gain intuitive support for their claims. Intuitions to act partially appear to be based in past experience. Upon closer investigation, deciding between these intuitions alone is unsatisfactory. A balance between the two is necessary, but a balance that favors the more reliable set of intuitions. Virtue ethics offer an approach that accommodates our intuitions towards where to give charitably and best answers which set of intuitions is most ethical when.



LCSH Subject Headings