Volume 21

Assessing Evidence for Purposes of Effective Altruism

by Kathryn E. Joyce

Effective altruism (EA) embraces an evidence-based approach to charitable giving that resonates with the broader evidence-based policy (EBP) movement in medicine, education, and other areas of social policy. EBP holds that decisions about how to produce desired outcomes should be based on evidence of effectiveness from scientific research rather than conventions, intuitions, or personal impressions about what works or doesn’t work. EA shares this commitment. At its core, “effective altruism is about using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible and taking action on that basis.” Indeed, Peter Singer describes it as “a commitment not to a particular solution, but to following the evidence.”


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