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Carl_Shulman comments on The person-affecting value of existential risk reduction - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Carl_Shulman 13 April 2018 06:43:25PM 9 points [-]

Other person affecting views consider people who will necessarily exist (however cashed out) rather than whether they happen to exist now (planting a bomb with a timer of 1000 years is still accrues person-affecting harm). In a 'extinction in 100 years' scenario, this view would still count the harm of everyone alive then who dies, although still discount the foregone benefit of people who 'could have been' subsequently in the moral calculus.

Butterfly effects change the identities of at least all yet-to-be conceived persons, so this would have to not be interested in particular people, but population sizes/counterparts.

Comment author: Gregory_Lewis 13 April 2018 09:31:26PM 1 point [-]

+1. Navigating this is easier said than done, and one might worry about some sort of temporal parochialism being self-defeating (persons at t1-tn are all better off if they cooperate across cohort with future-regarding efforts instead of all concerning themselves with those who are morally salient at their corresponding t).

My impression is those with person-affecting sympathies prefer trying to meet these challenges rather than accept the moral character of destructive acts change with a (long enough) delay, or trying to reconcile this with the commonsensical moral importance of more normal future-regarding acts (e.g. climate change, town planning, etc.)