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About this talk



EA Global: London 2017

Cause-neutrality is often seen as a key feature of effective altruism. In spite of that there is some unclarity over what it really means. In this talk, I will argue that they key sense of cause-neutrality is selecting causes based on impartial estimates of impact. This is distinct from cause-divergence - that effective altruists invest in several causes. Cause-neutrality does not entail cause-divergence, and it is confusing to use the term “cause-neutrality” for cause-divergence, as is sometimes done. Indeed cause-neutrality is compatible with effective altruism focusing solely on one cause. Similarly cause-neutrality does not entail cause-agnosticism – agnosticism over which cause is best – and it is confusing to use the term “cause-neutrality” for cause-agnosticism, as is sometimes done. Besides these conceptual clarifications, I will also discuss some considerations of relevance for whether we should be cause-divergent and cause-agnostic. Background: