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comment by RandomEA · 2018-03-17T21:12:07.144Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

You might be interested in the 2017 EA Survey, which shows that 48% of surveyed EAs view EA as a moral duty, 38% of surveyed EAs view EA as an opportunity, 9% of surveyed EAs view EA as an obligation, and the remaining view it as something else.

comment by Jeffhe · 2018-03-17T21:59:57.319Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey RandomEA (nice to chat again in a different setting lol),

Thanks for linking me to that. I understand moral duty and obligation to mean the same. Do you know what difference they had in mind? And 'opportunity' sounds very vague. It doesn't tell us much about the psychology of the surveyees.

comment by Khorton · 2018-03-18T10:11:10.327Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Probably some version of #1. My faith (and sociology!) teach me that I don't deserve to be rich. In Christian terms, I'm blessed so I can be a blessing to others. Or in more secular terms, I can use these undeserved benefits to make the world more just and fair.

comment by Jeffhe · 2018-03-19T00:33:10.116Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey Khorton,

Thanks for sharing! For some reason, I totally did not expect faith/religion to come up. Clearly I have not thought broadly in enough ><. If I included a new option like

10) I donate/plan to donate because I am of a particular faith/religion that calls on me or requires me to do charitable deeds

do you think that would be more true of you than 1)? How important is it to you that doing charitable deeds is morally good or right? In other words, what if God did not create morality and simply requested that you help others without it being morally good or bad? Do you think you would still do it?

comment by G Gordon Worley III (gworley3) · 2018-03-19T17:36:06.268Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


comment by Jeffhe · 2018-03-19T17:45:15.502Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey gworley3,

I decided to delete the post seeing that it wasn't getting many responses. Thanks for replying anyways!

comment by adamaero · 2018-03-17T20:13:05.537Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Sorry, I cannot choose one. Reasons change. There was never a be-all end-all reason for me.
(Also, a few of these are justifications instead of actual reasons.)

For lack of a better* English word, vicissitude (natural change visible in nature or in human affairs) comes closest to why I refuse to choose "the reason." It doesn't truly exist ;)

*Vicissitude usually has a negative connotation.

      1. 1 ≡ 8 ∴ 9.

comment by Jeffhe · 2018-03-17T21:57:59.198Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey adamaero,

I agree that reasons change! But I would be curious what your current reason is :P (don't worry if you don't want to say)

Also, can you tell me which count as justifications and which count as reasons for you, and the difference between a reason and a justification for you?

I understand myself to be using the word 'reason' to mean cause here, but 'reason' can also be used to mean justification since in everyday parlance, it is a pretty loose term. Something similar can be said for the words 'why' and 'because'.

As I see it, the real distinction is between a cause and a justification. We all more-or-less know what someone means when they say X is the cause of Y. However justification is less clear, so I want to share my understanding of justification (so you know where my mind is at).

As I see it, Y (e.g. an action or belief or piece of legislation) requires justification ONLY IF it is held to some standard (perhaps an implicit one). That which does the justifying (i.e. X) does it by showing how X in fact meets that standard. Take a CEO's actions. They are held (by shareholders and others) to the standard of being conducive to the success of the business. If it is unclear to them how one of the CEO's recent actions (say, laying off a rather effective employee) is good for the business, they might ask the CEO to justify his action. The CEO might then say that he was made aware that that employee was planning to leak company secrets. In saying this, he is offering a fact that shows how his action meets the standard it is held to.

Note that it follows from this understanding of justification that justification is subjective in the sense that justification is always justification TO SOMEONE. If you and I hold Y to different standards, then when presented with X, Y may be justified TO YOU, though it remains justified to me. And someone who doesn't hold Y to any standard won't even ask for a justification of it in the first place.

Note also that for many things, it makes sense to ask both for a cause and a justification, like actions and beliefs. But since almost everything has a cause, but relatively few things are held to a standard (implicit or explicit), questions of cause occur more.

Finally note that cause and justification can interact in various ways. For example, a person might believe that a certain act is justified, and that belief in conjunction with a desire to act in a justified way may cause him to act in that way.

I've never shared these views about justification with anyone but a close friend. So it would be interesting to know if your view is the same.

Having said all that, I admit I could have made certain of the reasons I listed sound more "cause-y" (maybe 1 and 2). Are those the ones you're concerned about?

comment by adamaero · 2018-03-18T15:53:29.626Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I do not mean "the reason" can change--I just do not think you can reduce someone's worldview, Weltanschauung, into one simple reason (unless maybe for #6).

Regardless, I don't think a survey here would be representative anyway.