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Richenda comments on 2017 LEAN Impact Assessment: Qualitative Findings - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 04 January 2018 07:23:20PM 1 point [-]

Hi Kevin, I'm sure some would benefit from more resources on moral theory. I think casebash is right, though, that we are comparatively strong on theory, but comparatively weak on available practical actions. With the LEAN programme we still have a fairly long wish list to deliver for groups on before we'd be in a place to be worrying about adding theoretical material. The responses in this assessment so far suggest that most organisers are very happy with the quality and variety of written resources that already exist, but that they want to see existing content tidied and presented in a more uniform and accessible way. It also seems that organisers would most value new material in the area of movement growth and outreach technique, and on the issue of impact assessment methodology. So this would probably be the first thing to address before writing more theoretical exposition. That said, if EAs want to write such pieces and post them in personal blogs or here on the forum, you can be sure that many organisers are watching the forum and finding that useful.

Comment author: KevinWatkinson  (EA Profile) 07 January 2018 12:37:55PM 0 points [-]

Hi Richenda,

I guess it depends on what the thinking and doing is about. My concerns are more around how ideas have been evaluated and analysed at the highest levels, particularly in relation to EAA. For instance, I haven't found too much evidence for how the ideas adopted by many EAs have been contextualised and considered in relation to different moral theories. I can understand that many utilitarians might be satisifed and be keen on doing, but in relation to others i think the ideas need more work before doing is put into practice.

For instance i believe the assessments on the animal movement of both the Open Philanthropy Project and ACE ought to be published so we can consider how it is they view the landscape with which they are traversing. From my own observation within EAA i believe there is a tendency toward viewing things through a utilitarian lens, particularly weighted by Singer's considerations of 'effectiveness', so we need to check that we are accounting for pluralism, and are not taking a one dimensional view that doesn't afford us sufficient scope to address certain issues.

I personally believe we need to be more certain before proceeding (particularly in relation to EAA), and this will be beneficial to doers, who are as always on the front lines of having to deal with scepticism.