Review and Summary of 'Moral Uncertainty'

post by finm · 2020-10-02T15:41:02.591Z · score: 30 (17 votes) · EA · GW · 2 comments

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I just read the recently published 'Moral Uncertainty' by Will MacAskill, Krister Bykvist, and Toby Ord. It's an excellent book with significant practical implications for effective altruists. As such, I originally intended to write a brief review — which ballooned into (I think) the longest single thing I've ever written. In any case, I hope this summary is useful for anyone curious about the book's main arguments, and the subject of moral uncertainty more generally. I would also be very grateful for feedback on this — anonymous is fine. Thank you!


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comment by meerpirat · 2020-10-08T08:18:56.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for your summary and review, really enjoyed it.

And clearly this is a book many years in the making — for instance, MacAskill's BPhil thesis about moral uncertainty was published in 2000!

I had to double check that, and I think it wasn't quite that long ago, probably 2010. But on the topic of taking long, I also found this in Will's CV from ~2015-2016:

Under Contract: Moral Uncertainty, Oxford University Press.
First author; co-authored with Toby Ord and Krister Bykvist. Expected publication: Feb 2017
comment by finm · 2020-10-08T10:02:08.220Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for pointing that mistake out — that would imply he finished his BPhil at age 13! Have corrected. I meant to say that the ideas were floating around long before the book was written, but appreciate that was super unclear.