The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2015 M04 7 - 228 pages
An argument for putting sentiment aside and maximizing the practical impact of our donated dollars: “Powerful, provocative” (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times).
 
Peter Singer’s books and ideas have been disturbing our complacency ever since the appearance of Animal Liberation. Now he directs our attention to a challenging new movement in which his own ideas have played a crucial role: effective altruism. Effective altruism is built upon the simple but profoundly unsettling idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the “most good you can do.”
 
Such a life requires a rigorously unsentimental view of charitable giving: to be a worthy recipient of our support, an organization must be able to demonstrate that it will do more good with our money or our time than other options open to us. Singer introduces us to an array of remarkable people who are restructuring their lives in accordance with these ideas, and shows how, paradoxically, living altruistically often leads to greater personal fulfillment than living for oneself.
 
Doing the Most Good develops the challenges Singer has made, in the New York Times and Washington Post, to those who donate to the arts, and to charities focused on helping our fellow citizens, rather than those for whom we can do the most good. Effective altruists are extending our knowledge of the possibilities of living less selfishly, and of allowing reason, rather than emotion, to determine how we live. Doing the Most Good offers new hope for our ability to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.
 

Contents

HOW TO DO THE MOST GOOD
21
MOTIVATION AND JUSTIFICATION
73
CHOOSING CAUSES AND ORGANIZATIONS
105
Afterword
179
Notes
183
Index
203
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2015)

Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He first became well known internationally in 1975 with the publication of Animal Liberation.Matthew Lloyd Davies is a veteran actor, audiobook narrator, and director. Throughout his acting career, he has made regular appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, in the West End, on international tours, and in award-winning television shows and films.

Bibliographic information