Can people be persuaded by anything other than an appeal to emotion?

post by Jordan_Warner · 2021-01-02T18:37:01.192Z · EA · GW · 1 comments

This is a question post.

I ask because the majority of objections to EA that I encounter are more emotional than rational, referring to the fact that humans care about things other than doing the most good possible, some selfish and some selfless (family, local community, pet projects ect).

Is caring on an emotional level about cost-effectiveness an essential part of EA? We like to think we're rational people trying to do what's best for everyone (without claiming to always perfectly achieve that), but do you think an emotional connection to that identity is a prerequisite to becoming an EA?

From the leading questions you can probably guess that I suspect this is the case, but I'd like to get a wider range of opinions.

Answers

answer by Alex HT · 2021-01-02T19:58:30.024Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

My guess is that few EAs care emotionally about cost effectiveness and that they care emotionally about helping others a lot. Given limited resources, that means they have to be cost effective. Imagine a mother with a limited supply of food to share between her children. She’s doesn’t care emotionally about rationing food, but she’ll pay a lot of attention to how best to do rationing.

I do think there are things in the vicinity of careful reasoning/thinking clearly/having accurate beliefs that are core to many EAs identities. I think those can be developed naturally to some extent, and don’t seem like complete prerequisites to being an EA

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