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Is Effective Altruism "Inherently Utilitarian"?

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A recent post at the Blog of the APA claims so.  Here's why I disagree...It's worth distinguishing three features of utilitarianism (only the weakest of which is shared by Effective Altruism):(1) No constraints.  You should do whatever it takes to maximize the good -- no matter the harms done along the way.(2) Unlimited demands of beneficence: Putting aside any intrinsically immoral acts, between the remaining options you should do whatever would maximize the good -- no matter the cost to yourself.(3) Efficient benevolence: Putting aside any intrinsically immoral acts, and at whatever magnitude of self-imposed burdens you are willing to countenance: you should direct your selected resources (time, effort, money) that are allocated for benevolent ends in whatever way would do the most good.EA is only committed to feature (3), not (1) or (2).  And it's worth emphasizing how incredibly weak claim (3) is.  (Try completing the phrase "no matter..." for this one.  What exactly is the cost of avoiding inefficiency?  "No matter whether you would rather support a different cause that did less good?" Cue the world's tiniest violin.)Most of the objections to utilitarianism instead relate to features 1 and 2, which simply do not carry over to EA at all.  So I think it's straightforwardly false and misleading to claim that EA is "inherently utilitarian" or inherits the putative "problematic structural features" of utilitarianism.  (EA is not exhausted by claim 3, of course, since it tends to additionally claim that we should direct a non-trivial portion of our resources to benevolent ends. But so does every plausible moral view.  So that's still a far cry from the unlimited demands of utilitarianism.)Rossian deontologists could easily accept EA's efficient conception of benevolence, for example, without this interfering in any way with the rest of their (decidedly non-utilitarian!) moral theory.  The same seems true of many. . .

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