NEH logo
[Return to Query]

Products for grant FT-254443-17

FT-254443-17
Accounting for Moral Responsibility in an Agent's Free Actions
Travis Timmerman, Seton Hall University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-254443-17

Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist Effective Altruism (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist Effective Altruism
Author: Travis Timmerman
Abstract: Effective altruists are those who strive toward, and believe they ought to be, doing the most good they can (Singer 2016: vii). Toward this end, they apply “evidence and reason to working out the most effective ways to improve the world” (Singer 2016: 4-5); (MacAskill 2015: 32). Actual effective altruists are also fallible and, without exception, would fail to do the most good they can in some situations. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective altruist (EA)? To put the question a different way, what is the relationship between an EA’s future free choices and her present obligations as an EA? This question has not yet received any attention in the effective altruism literature, which is an unfortunate oversight since every EA will face this issue due to typical human akrasia. It is also important to answer this question because how we do so will determine how demanding effective altruism can be. Answering this question is also necessary to guide the practical choices EAs ought to make. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, I explore the implications of the different viable answers to this question for effective altruism. Interestingly, prominent EAs seem disposed to endorse the most popular answer (i.e. actualism), which entails that effective altruism is much less demanding than some of its critics believe. Yet, there are good reasons to believe that actualism is false. Rejecting actualism, however, undermines common responses EAs give to demandingness objections. Second, I provide my own positive answer to this question and then review the important implications of this view for effective altruism.
Date: 5/23/17
Primary URL: http://ceppa.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/conference-on-the-ethics-of-giving/
Primary URL Description: This is the URL for the conference website. It contains links to videos of each lecture.
Conference Name: The Ethics of Giving

Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist Effective Altruism (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist Effective Altruism
Author: Travis Timmerman
Abstract: Effective altruists are those who strive toward, and believe they ought to be, doing the most good they can (Singer 2016: vii). Toward this end, they apply “evidence and reason to working out the most effective ways to improve the world” (Singer 2016: 4-5); (MacAskill 2015: 32). Actual effective altruists are also fallible and, without exception, would fail to do the most good they can in some situations. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective altruist (EA)? To put the question a different way, what is the relationship between an EA’s future free choices and her present obligations as an EA? This question has not yet received any attention in the effective altruism literature, which is an unfortunate oversight since every EA will face this issue due to typical human akrasia. It is also important to answer this question because how we do so will determine how demanding effective altruism can be. Answering this question is also necessary to guide the practical choices EAs ought to make. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, I explore the implications of the different viable answers to this question for effective altruism. Interestingly, prominent EAs seem disposed to endorse the most popular answer (i.e. actualism), which entails that effective altruism is much less demanding than some of its critics believe. Yet, there are good reasons to believe that actualism is false. Rejecting actualism, however, undermines common responses EAs give to demandingness objections. Second, I provide my own positive answer to this question and then review the important implications of this view for effective altruism. Before I do any of that, however, it will be helpful make this abstract question more concrete by considering a case from the actual world.
Date: 6/7/17
Primary URL: http://www.filosofi.uu.se/calendar/?siteNodeId=123946&languageId=1&startDateTime=2017-06-01&endDateTime=2018-05-31
Primary URL Description: This is a link to Uppsala's event calendar showing that I gave this talk on that date.
Conference Name: Uppsala Higher Seminar in Philosophy

Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist Effective Altruism (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist Effective Altruism
Author: Travis Timmerman
Abstract: Effective altruists are those who strive toward, and believe they ought to be, doing the most good they can (Singer 2016: vii). Toward this end, they apply “evidence and reason to working out the most effective ways to improve the world” (Singer 2016: 4-5); (MacAskill 2015: 32). Actual effective altruists are also fallible and, without exception, would fail to do the most good they can in some situations. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective altruist (EA)? To put the question a different way, what is the relationship between an EA’s future free choices and her present obligations as an EA? This question has not yet received any attention in the effective altruism literature, which is an unfortunate oversight since every EA will face this issue due to typical human akrasia. It is also important to answer this question because how we do so will determine how demanding effective altruism can be. Answering this question is also necessary to guide the practical choices EAs ought to make. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, I explore the implications of the different viable answers to this question for effective altruism. Interestingly, prominent EAs seem disposed to endorse the most popular answer (i.e. actualism), which entails that effective altruism is much less demanding than some of its critics believe. Yet, there are good reasons to believe that actualism is false. Rejecting actualism, however, undermines common responses EAs give to demandingness objections. Second, I provide my own positive answer to this question and then review the important implications of this view for effective altruism.
Date: 5/23/17
Primary URL: http://ceppa.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/conference-on-the-ethics-of-giving/
Primary URL Description: This is a link to the conference website, which contains links to the talks, including my own.
Conference Name: The Ethics of Giving

How to be an Actualist and Blame People (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: How to be an Actualist and Blame People
Author: Travis Timmerman
Abstract: The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics concerns the relationship between an agent’s free actions and her moral obligations. The actualist affirms, while the possibilist denies, that facts about what agents would freely do in certain circumstances partly determines that agent’s moral obligations. This paper assesses the plausibility of actualism and possibilism in light of desiderata about accounts of blameworthiness. This paper first argues that actualism cannot straightforwardly accommodate certain very plausible desiderata before offering a few independent solutions on behalf of the actualist. This paper then argues that, contrary to initial appearances, possibilism is subject to its own comparably troubling blameworthiness problem.
Date: 7/13/17
Primary URL: https://www.academia.edu/30933148/Neutrality_Reasons_Values_and_Times_Program_
Primary URL Description: This is a link to the conference program on one of the conference organizer's academia.edu page.


Permalink: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/products.aspx?gn=FT-254443-17