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Effective Altruism

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Do we always have a moral obligation to do the most good we can?

Most people agree that it's good to help others, but philosophers disagree about how much good we need to do, and for whom. Effective altruists claim that you have a moral obligation to do the most good you can—even when that means setting aside the needs of your nearest and dearest in order to help strangers. So what does morality demand of us? Are we justified in caring more about our own communities than faraway strangers? Is it ever okay to pursue a personal project, like creating music or reading novels, when you could be helping others? Josh and Ray demand much of Theron Pummer from the University of St. Andrews, author of The Rules of Rescue: Cost, Distance, and Effective Altruism (forthcoming). Sunday, August 28 at 11 am.

Devon Strolovitch studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before coming to KALW. He is the Senior Producer of Philosophy Talk, and since 2007 has hosted Fog City Blues, the weekly digest of Blues in the Bay Area and beyond.