Posts

Research Summary: The Subjective Experience of Time 2020-08-10T13:28:13.181Z · score: 70 (32 votes)
Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? 2020-08-03T13:30:38.872Z · score: 48 (16 votes)
The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications 2020-07-27T13:24:41.585Z · score: 92 (37 votes)
How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status 2020-06-01T15:01:58.437Z · score: 65 (19 votes)
Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species 2020-05-18T00:42:04.134Z · score: 93 (33 votes)
Intervention Profile: Ballot Initiatives 2020-01-13T15:41:06.182Z · score: 105 (32 votes)
Managed Honey Bee Welfare: Problems and Potential Interventions 2019-11-14T19:03:33.709Z · score: 72 (25 votes)
Opinion: Estimating Invertebrate Sentience 2019-11-07T02:38:06.420Z · score: 121 (46 votes)
Invertebrate Welfare Cause Profile 2019-07-09T17:28:26.735Z · score: 94 (36 votes)
Features Relevant to Invertebrate Sentience, Part 3 2019-06-12T14:49:38.772Z · score: 26 (13 votes)
Invertebrate Sentience: A Useful Empirical Resource 2019-06-12T01:15:59.645Z · score: 81 (37 votes)
Features Relevant to Invertebrate Sentience, Part 2 2019-06-11T15:23:59.244Z · score: 25 (13 votes)
Features Relevant to Invertebrate Sentience, Part 1 2019-06-10T18:00:49.478Z · score: 50 (22 votes)
EA Research Organizations Should Post Jobs on PhilJobs.org 2019-05-02T19:37:11.592Z · score: 45 (23 votes)
Detecting Morally Significant Pain in Nonhumans: Some Philosophical Difficulties 2018-12-23T17:49:00.750Z · score: 64 (32 votes)

Comments

Comment by jason-schukraft on Research Summary: The Subjective Experience of Time · 2020-10-25T13:51:34.970Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Cool, thanks Michael, I hadn't seen that. (And thanks to Antonia as well for writing the summary!)

Comment by jason-schukraft on Parenting: Things I wish I could tell my past self · 2020-09-17T01:13:42.135Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, that post is fantastic!

Comment by jason-schukraft on Parenting: Things I wish I could tell my past self · 2020-09-16T01:19:53.870Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Ruth,

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer, but I just wanted to tell you that you're not alone! My wife and I both struggled with sleep deprivation for a long time. Our two kids didn't consistently sleep through the night until ~21 months. I became pretty good at stealing a 20 minute nap whenever the opportunity presented itself, but other than that, I didn't find a solution...

Comment by jason-schukraft on Parenting: Things I wish I could tell my past self · 2020-09-15T01:36:51.315Z · score: 27 (15 votes) · EA · GW

As the parent of two young children, I was really pleased to see this post on the EA Forum.

I'll echo the bit about the importance of having support networks. Parenting is really hard in unexpected ways, and having other parents with whom to share your strange hardships is really comforting. (I have so many potty training horror stories that only other parents could possibly appreciate.)

That said, I also think it's really important to cultivate a support network of non-parent friends. It's pretty easy (at least for me, especially when I was a stay-home-dad for 18 months) to let your kids become your whole identity. It's sometimes a relief to talk about anything but my kids,  just to remind myself that I'm an independent human with his own thoughts and interests.

In addition to being full of misinformation and pseudo-science, many parenting books also give the false impression that once you reach certain milestones, parenting magically becomes super easy. I remember being convinced that as soon as my kids could sleep through the night, my job was pretty much done. In reality, parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. I don't wake up in the middle of the night anymore, but the sheer willpower that a 3-year-old can display when he doesn't want to get dressed for the day is draining in its own unique way.

Contra Michelle's experience, I did change a bit as a person, sometimes in surprising ways. (For instance, before I had kids I would watch sports for hours on the weekend, and my subjective well-being rose and fell with the fortunes of my favorite teams. For whatever reason, I've now completely lost interest in sports, and for the life of me, can't remember why I spent all those hours glued to the TV.)

One last thing, in case it's not obvious: parenting can be incredibly rewarding. Earlier this year my 5-year-old daughter donated, of her own volition and without pressure from me, a portion of her allowance to Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative. The pride I felt is pretty close to indescribable. (Obviously I helped her pick the charity, based on her goal to "help kids who aren't as lucky as I am.")

Comment by jason-schukraft on Research Summary: The Subjective Experience of Time · 2020-08-11T01:27:24.589Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, that’s a great question!

Welfare is constituted by those things that are non-instrumentally good or bad for the creature. Insofar as reflexes are unconscious, they probably are not non-instrumentally good or bad. (They are, of course, often instrumentally good; they help the creature get other things that are good for it.) Conscious experiences, on the other hand, are usually non-instrumentally good or bad. Experiences with a positive valence are non-instrumentally good; experiences with a negative valence are non-instrumentally bad. (Experiences that are perfectly neural may not be non-instrumentally good or bad; experiences can also be instrumentally useful in a variety of ways.)

Differences in the subjective experience of time—assuming they exist—are relevant to welfare (both realized welfare and capacity for welfare) because they reflect differences in the amount of experience a creature undergoes per unit of objective time. I write about the moral importance of the subjective experience of time in this part of the first post.

You’re right that there are other aspects of temporal perception that may not be directly relevant to welfare. We already know that there are differences in temporal resolution (roughly: the rate at which a perceptual system samples information about its environment) across species. Enhanced temporal resolution may, among other things, enable faster unconscious reflexes. Naturally, the speed of a creature’s reflexes will indirectly contribute to its welfare, but those unconscious reflexes won’t be part of what constitutes the creature’s welfare. Whether or not there is a correlation between temporal resolution and the subjective experience of time is an open question, one that I explore in depth in the second post.

Hope that clarifies things a bit for you, but if not, please ask a follow-up question!

Comment by jason-schukraft on Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? · 2020-08-06T01:32:20.993Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Great, thanks Michael - that clarifies the argument for me.

Premise 1: Any observed conscious temporal resolution frequency for an individual X (within some set of possible conditions C) is a lower bound for the maximum frequency of subjective experience for X (within C).

While I think it's plausible that one's temporal resolution sets some sort of bound on one's rate of subjective experience, I just want to reiterate that I believe this is an empirical claim, not a conceptual claim. I'm open to the possibility that temporal resolution is just totally irrelevant to the subjective experience of time.

(As an aside, I think we have to be a bit careful how we (myself included) use the word 'conscious' in this context. In the post I distinguish behavioral methods for determining CFF from ERG methods for determining CFF. But even bees can be trained on the behavioral paradigm. This of course doesn't settle the question of whether they're conscious.)

Does it make sense to interpret the rate of subjective experience as a frequency, the number of subjective experiences per second? Maybe our conscious experiences are not sufficiently synchronized across our brains for such an interpretation?

This is another good question for which I don't have the answer. A related issue is whether experiences are discrete (countable) in the relevant sense. There are arguments that pull in either direction here. But, just to clarify, even if experiences are countable in the relevant sense, it would be an astounding coincidence if our experience frequency exactly matched our critical flicker-fusion frequency (i.e., 60 experiences per second).

Comment by jason-schukraft on Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? · 2020-08-05T19:54:38.098Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the interesting argument. Before I can evaluate it, however, I'd need you to clarify your terms a bit for me. In particular, I'd need to know more about what you mean by "frequency of conscious experience." Based on my best reconstruction of the argument, it can't mean temporal resolution or rate of subjective experience.

I'll try clarify my position a bit, in case it's helpful to you or other readers. I don't think there's an a priori connection between temporal resolution (as measured by CFF or any other method) and rate of subjective experience. If there's a correlation between the two, that's a contingent empirical fact. There is no conceptual tension between the claim that a creature consciously perceives the flicker-to-steady-glow transition at some high threshold (200 Hz vs 60 Hz for humans, say) and the claim that the creature has the same rate of subjective experience as a typical human. (Similarly, there is no conceptual tension between the claim that some creature consciously perceives the transition at the same threshold as humans but has a different rate of subjective experience.) It's tempting to think that temporal resolution is like the frame rate of a video, and as the temporal resolution goes up or down, so too must the rate of subjective experience. But the mechanisms that govern the intake and processing of perceptual information are a lot more complicated than that, and the mechanisms that govern the subjective experience of time appear to be more complicated still.

One analogy that is sometimes helpful to me is to think of (visual) temporal resolution as a measure of motion blur. As one's temporal resolution improves, motion blur is reduced. But changes in motion blur need not have any connection to temporal experience. When I'm drunk, my motion blur greatly increases, but my rate of subjective experience doesn't change.

(Also, apologies if in elaborating my position I've missed the point of your argument. Like I said, it looks interesting, I just need to understand the terms better to evaluate it.)

Comment by jason-schukraft on Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? · 2020-08-04T20:33:35.670Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Doesn't using behavioural studies based on trained behaviour avoid this concern?

Thanks, this is a good question. The short answer is no, it doesn’t. The longer answer is a bit more complicated.

Nobody denies that differences in CFF generate differences in perceptual experience. But differences in perceptual experience are cheap. As I say in the post, the values I discuss are maximum CFF thresholds (that is, the highest CFF an individual can register in any condition). One’s actual CFF threshold is constantly shifting due to differences in things like background lighting conditions. So a light that an individual perceives as flickering in one situation may be perceived as glowing steadily in a different situation. The question is whether maximum CFF thresholds correlate with differences in subjective temporal experience.

Differences in one’s perceptual experience affect what one’s body can do unconsciously. Balancing on one foot with one’s eyes open is much easier than balancing on one foot with one’s eyes closed. The reason is that your visual system allows your body to make continual microadjustments to stay balanced.

So if differences in visual temporal resolution (as measured by CFF) confer a fitness advantage only in virtue of improvements in unconscious movements, we shouldn’t expect differences in CFF to be correlated with differences in subjective temporal experience. As I explain in the post, the temporal resolution of one’s senses doesn’t directly govern the subjective experience of time. If differences in temporal resolution correlate with differences in subjective temporal experience, it’s probably because improvements in temporal resolution make improvements in the subjective experience of time more useful (and/or vice versa).

Did the CFF estimates in your table come from behavioural studies or ERG studies, or both?

Both.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? · 2020-08-04T20:10:00.336Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, and apologies if the wording is unclear. To clarify, in the post I discuss both (a) situations in which it looks like a difference in CFF is not accompanied by a difference in the subjective experience of time and (b) situations in which it looks like a difference in the subjective experience of time is not accompanied by a difference in CFF.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? · 2020-08-04T20:02:33.873Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, sorry I define that in the previous post. Quoting from there:

I operationalize ‘characteristic and significant differences in the subjective experience of time’ as the claim that for at least half their daily waking lives, some animals maintain subjective rates of experience at least twice as fast as some other animals.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time? · 2020-08-04T19:59:02.496Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comments. If temporal resolution does, under the right conditions, track the subjective experience of time, I expect it will be the temporal resolution of whichever sensory modality exerts the biggest selection pressure due to differences in the subjective experience of time. In many cases that will probably be the sensory modality with the best (fastest) temporal resolution, but that need not always be the case. As I say in the post, temporal resolution only plausibly tracks the subjective experience of time for animals in which the fitness-improving actions that the greater temporal resolution enables require conscious processing. It may be the case that for certain animals, improvements in temporal resolution in one sense enable actions that increase fitness without conscious processing, while improvements in temporal resolution in a different sense enable actions that increase fitness only with additional conscious processing.

In short, I unfortunately don’t expect there to be any simple rule that will show which measures of temporal resolution are best at tracking differences in the subjective experience of time in all circumstances. In determining whether and to what degree a particular measure of temporal resolution might track differences in the subjective experience of time within a group of species, we’ll need to pay attention to the context in which evolutionary pressures were likely to exert an influence on temporal resolution and temporal experience for the species in the group.

Comment by jason-schukraft on The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications · 2020-07-30T01:02:02.999Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Matt,

Yes, the reference is to people reporting that time appears to slow down during life-threatening events, such as fighter pilots ejecting from their jets and rock climbers suffering serious falls. People on certain psychedelic drugs also sometimes report that time seems to stretch out. I discuss these reports in more detail in this section.

Comment by jason-schukraft on The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications · 2020-07-28T15:23:54.922Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Michael, good question. I think the key issue is that, as far as we can tell, there is no single brain region responsible for temporal experience. And because neuronal firing regimes differ so dramatically across brain regions, we can't assign overall neuronal firing rates and compare them across species.

Admittedly, this is also somewhat of an issue for some of the other neurological proxies I've identified. (For instance, as I mention in the post, axonal conduction velocity varies pretty significantly throughout the central nervous system.)

To be clear, this doesn't tell us how often signals are sent, just how long it takes a signal to get from one point to another, and an upper bound on how often signals can be sent and received?

Correct. But at least for mammals, we know that homologous brain regions in different animals all fire at roughly the same rate. On the other hand, interneuronal distance does vary across mammals (and even more so across vertebrates). If there are differences in temporal experience across species, I wouldn't expect mammals to have a uniform rate of subjective experience. So it seems to me that interneuronal distance is likely to be a more informative (though still very imperfect) metric than neuronal firing rate.

Comment by jason-schukraft on The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications · 2020-07-28T01:38:23.853Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This is a really good question for which I don't yet have a clear answer, despite thinking about for a fair amount of time.

For our purposes, the morally significant differences in sensory collection, processing, and integration are those differences that affect the phenomenal duration (or quality, for that matter) of the experience.

At various points in the post I appeal to an analogy between the subjective experience of time and a movie played at various speeds. But that's not actually a good metaphor. Perceptual processing and integration is extraordinarily complicated. Our brains take in a huge range of information across our different senses, and this information comes in at different speeds. Different parts of the brain process and integrate this information in different ways, modulating the integration for differences in the speed with which different modalities deliver information, eventually presenting us with what appears to be a unified cross-sensory model of our environment. In principle at least, it seems as if the different steps in this complicated chain of events could be run at different speeds, and it's still unclear to me what the effect would be on conscious experience.

Comment by jason-schukraft on The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications · 2020-07-28T01:23:19.409Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, and just to reiterate what I say in the post: CFF is a visual measure, so comparing animals that inhabit environments of characteristically different luminances is not advised. Most (though possibly not all) of the CFF variation between the crustaceans in the spreadsheet and the insects in the spreadsheet can be explained by differences in the extent to which the different animals rely on vision to interact with the world.

Comment by jason-schukraft on The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications · 2020-07-28T01:16:51.001Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

It's a weird phenomenon. If targets A and B are presented 100 ms apart, both are likely to be correctly identified. If targets A and B are presented 700 ms apart, both are likely to be correctly identified. But if targets A and B are presented ~300 ms apart, only A is likely to be correctly identified.

It's called "attentional blink" because there is a reliable duration after an initial stimulus is presented at which you likely can't focus your attention well enough to identify a new target. Targets presented before or after the blink are easier to identify than targets presented during the blink window.

A caveat: vision science is not my area of expertise, so I would defer to an expert if one offered a clearer explanation of the phenomenon.

Comment by jason-schukraft on The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications · 2020-07-28T01:05:31.430Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Michael.

Thanks as always for your many thoughtful comments.

By definition, differences in the subjective experience of time can only affect diachronic welfare (that is, welfare across time).

I agree that differences in the subjective experience of time shouldn't affect moral status--that would amount to double-counting. An individual's welfare shouldn't be worth more (less) just because she has more (less) of it.

I don't find it problematic, however, to think that differences in the subjective experience of time affect (diachronic) capacity for welfare. If two species have the same lifespan as measured in objective time, but species A has a characteristically faster rate of subjective experience than species B, then, all else equal, we should prioritize lifetime welfare improvements to species A because there is more welfare at stake.

That said, if the capacity for welfare angle is confusing or conceptually unsound, I think it's fine to frame the issue solely in terms of differences to realized welfare.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Marcus Davis: Rethink Priorities — empirical research on neglected causes · 2020-07-13T15:11:35.869Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Until it's fixed, here is the appropriate link, for anyone interested.

Comment by jason-schukraft on What was the first being on Earth to experience suffering? · 2020-07-10T15:13:08.339Z · score: 32 (11 votes) · EA · GW

I haven't investigated this question in any detail, but a natural thought is that the emergence of sentience coincided with (either as a byproduct of or causal factor in) the Cambrian Explosion, ~540 million years ago. The capacity for valenced experience probably arose either simultaneously with the capacity for general awareness or shortly thereafter. With the capacity for valenced experience comes the capacity for negative hedonic states, which under many circumstances would constitute suffering, in my view. Depending on how robustly you're defining 'desire,' desires might also have arisen around the same time (e.g., many animals probably have the basic desire to avoid negative hedonic states).

See Michael Trestman's 2013 paper "The Cambrian Explosion and the Origins of Embodied Cognition" for more on the connection between consciousness and the Cambrian explosion. Max Carpendale also wrote about this topic on the Forum last year. For the view that consciousness emerged much later (i.e., not until mammals), see Stanislas Dehaene's 2014 book Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts. For general discussion of the evolutionary origins of consciousness, see Peter Godfrey-Smith's excellent 2017 book Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status · 2020-07-09T21:38:46.357Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, that's an interesting idea. Sounds pretty good in principle, though I imagine fairly hard to implement in practice. AI Impacts did something similar last year when they investigated the relationship between neuron count and general intelligence. They prepared anonymized descriptions of the behavior of four species (two birds and two primates). Survey participants were asked to judge which animals were more intelligent on the basis of the anonymized descriptions. (The birds scored about the same as the primates.)

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-07-06T14:07:08.377Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Michael,

Yeah, these are good questions. I think objective list theories are definitely vulnerable to anthropocentric and speciesist reasoning. It's certainly open to an objective list theorist to hold that there are non-instrumental goods that are inaccessible to humans, though I'm not aware of any examples of this in the relevant literature. This sort of question is occasionally raised in the literature on "supra-personal moral status" (i.e., moral status greater than humans). (See Douglas 2013 for a representative example. Fun fact: this literature is actually hundreds of years old; theologians used to debate whether angels had a higher moral status than humans).

Arguing over non-instrumental goods is notoriously difficult. In practice, it usually involves a lot of appealing to intuitions, especially intuitions about thought experiments. Not a fantastic methodology, to be sure, but in most cases it's unclear what the alternative would be.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status · 2020-06-19T01:26:54.057Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Jacob,

Thanks for your comment! I’m happy to chat in more detail if you’d like to set up a call.

While capacity and moral weight are important parameters, I think there also remains significant empirical uncertainty about actual experience as well.

I agree, and I fully support more research aimed at figuring out how to measure realized welfare. For many comparisons of specific interventions, learning more about the realized welfare of a given group of animals (and how a change in conditions would affect realized welfare) is going to be much more action-relevant than information about capacity for welfare. Considerations pertaining to capacity for welfare are most pertinent to big-picture questions about how we should allocate resources across fairly distinct types of animals (e.g., chickens vs. fish vs. crustaceans vs. insects). I think some uncertainties surrounding capacity for welfare can be resolved without fully solving the problem of how to measure realized welfare in every case. Of course, measuring realized welfare and measuring capacity for welfare share many of the same conceptual and practical hurdles, so we may be able to make progress on the two in tandem.

While this is not exactly the same task as assessing capacity for welfare and moral status, it seems analogous and illustrative of the need for a hybrid approach.

Not sure how much we disagree here. I certainly think all-things-considered expert judgments have an important role to play in assessing capacity for welfare. The post emphasizes the atomistic approach because it’s a lot more complicated (and thus warrants deeper explanation) and also because it’s much more likely to uncover action-relevant information that our untutored all-things-considered judgments may miss. (I liken the project to RP’s previous work on invertebrate sentience, which required many subjective judgment calls but ultimately whose main contribution was a compilation of hard data on 53 empirically measurable features that are relevant to assessing whether or not an animal is sentient.)

This seems very unlikely to be the correct taxa in my opinion. First, taxa above genus or family are generally arbitrary in scope. Second, relevant traits would likely be heterogeneous within such a broad group.

Yeah, I could be convinced that order is the wrong taxonomic rank. My main concern is tractability. The scale of the potential project is already so enormous, and moving from order to family could easily add another 500-1000 hours of work. My hope was that we would be able to discern some broad trends at the level of order (which could be refined in the future). But if neither time nor money were a particular concern, then, for the reasons you outline, I think family would be a much better rank at which to investigate these questions.

Again, happy to talk more if you’re interested!

Comment by jason-schukraft on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-16T17:41:33.313Z · score: 22 (15 votes) · EA · GW

I'd like the Forum to support superscript and subscript.

Comment by jason-schukraft on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-16T17:41:05.518Z · score: 29 (16 votes) · EA · GW

I'd like to see the experimental sequences feature rolled out to all users.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status · 2020-06-09T16:30:47.303Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comment. This is a complicated topic, so it’s easy for well-meaning folks to talk past one another. For that reason, I’ll encourage you again to reach out to schedule a call to discuss in further detail.

Since this area is so under-explored, I think there is a large range of reasonable expectations about the outcome of the sort of project I outline in the post. I can try to give you some insight into why I’m more optimistic than you are, but that’s not to say that your pessimism is outside the range of reasonable attitudes one could take to the project.

One reason I’m optimistic is because in my own limited experience exploring questions of comparative moral value, the returns have thus far been quite high. Let me give just one example.

The subjective experience of time is plausibly an important determinant of realized welfare and capacity for welfare. There are plausible empirical proxies we can use to approximate differences in the subjective experience of time. Critical flicker-fusion frequency (CFF) is an especially well-studied measure, so I’ll use it in this example, but I think there are probably better metrics. (I’m currently writing a report on this subject; stay tuned for details.) If CFF tracks the subjective experience of time, then higher values represent more subjective moments per objective unit of time. The typical human has a max CFF threshold of around 60 Hz. Chickens have a max CFF threshold around 87 Hz. Honey bees have a max CFF threshold of around 200 Hz. So that's an example of a way we might directly compare three important animals on a metric that might track an important welfare determinant.

Now I’m not saying CFF is a perfect measure of the subjective experience of time. It’s not. In fact, my best guess is that there’s only a ~30% chance it tracks the subjective experience of time under the best conditions. (Again, see my forthcoming report for extensive discussion.) But the illustrative point here is that there may exist empirically measurable proxies for features we care about that allow us to compare capacity for welfare across species. If we don’t at least try to locate such proxies, we’ll never know if they exist. Given the stakes, it seems reasonable to me to devote a small fraction of our collective resources to think more carefully about these very difficult issues.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Why might one value animals far less than humans? · 2020-06-08T18:51:42.877Z · score: 22 (7 votes) · EA · GW

You might be interested in Rethink Priorities’ recent reports about comparing capacity for welfare and moral status across species (part 1 here, part 2 here). Some people (myself included) think capacity for welfare, which roughly is how good or bad an animal’s life can go, differs significantly across species. The extent and degree of this sort of difference depends on the correct theory of welfare. Even if a purely hedonic theory is correct, it’s plausible that differences in affective complexity and cognitive sophistication affect the phenomenal intensity of experience and that some neurological differences affect the subjective experience of time (i.e., the phenomenal duration of experience).

However, it’s unclear which way these differences cut. Advanced social, emotional, and intellectual complexity may open up new dimensions of pleasure and suffering that widen the intensity range of experience (e.g., combining physical with emotional intimacy plausibly opens up the possibility of greater overall pleasure than mere physical intimacy). On the other hand, these same faculties may actually suppress the intensity range of experience (e.g., without the ability to conceptualize, rationalize, or time the experience, even modest pain may induce rather extreme suffering).

Comparing the intrinsic moral worth of different animals (including humans) is extraordinarily difficult, and there is tremendous uncertainty, both normative and empirical. Given this large uncertainty, it seems that, all other things equal, it would be better if near-termist EA funding didn’t skew quite so heavily towards humans, and for the funding that is directed at nonhuman animals, it would be better if it didn’t skew quite so heavily towards terrestrial vertebrates.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status · 2020-06-05T14:06:05.518Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comment.

Happiness is a subjective experience, so no objective measure is possible. Of course, we have intuitions about relative magnitudes of happiness in different animals, but what makes us think we're right, even approximately?

This is an important concern, but I think we disagree about what it would take to satisfy this concern. It’s true that we don’t and can’t have direct access to the subjective experience of nonhuman animals. But of course we also don’t and can’t have direct access to the subjective experience of other humans. Subjective experience is, well, subjective. So whenever we conclude that a fellow human is happy or sad, we’re doing so on the basis of indirect evidence.

Now, most humans can give verbal reports of their subjective states, which is about as good a kind of indirect evidence as we could hope for. But not all humans can do that. I take it as a datum that we can know a great deal about the subjective states of babies. Maybe you deny that. If so, that’s an interesting crux.

If you agree that we can know about the subjective states of babies, then that establishes that it is in principle possible to know about the subjective experience of non-verbal animals in the absence of direct evidence. Admittedly, this type of inference gets harder as we move to nonhuman animals, and harder still as we move farther out in phylogenetic distance. But we should clearly distinguish practical difficulties from conceptual difficulties. There’s nothing particularly conceptually dubious about abductive reasoning; inference to the best explanation is used in many areas of both philosophy and science.

Have you read Michael Tye’s Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs? He discusses these questions in a bit more detail. You could also take a look at our introduction to the invertebrate sentience project, especially the project rationale section. I’d be happy to schedule a meeting to talk in more detail if you want.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status · 2020-06-02T14:57:15.640Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, I agree that estimating welfare (either average realized welfare or capacity for welfare) this way is a bad strategy for a number of reasons. There are going to be many confounders and the framing of the thought experiment obscures rather than clarifies the issue.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status · 2020-06-01T19:18:42.553Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Zach,

Thanks for your comment. Measuring and comparing welfare across species is a tremendous theoretical and practical challenge. For measuring capacity for welfare, we would want to get a rough sense of the range of physical pain and pleasure an animal can experience as well as the range of emotional pain and pleasure an animal can experience. We would also want to know the degree to which physical and emotional pain/pleasure contribute to overall welfare, and this may differ by species. (We will need to account for combination effects: among other things, "stacking" one unit of physical pain on top of one unit of emotional pain may create more or less than two units of overall suffering.) All else being equal, if two animals have the same range of possible physical pains and pleasures, but animal A has a greater range of possible emotional pains and pleasures than animal B, we would expect animal A to have a greater capacity for welfare than animal B.

One thing to keep in mind is that what ultimately matters morally is realized welfare, not capacity for welfare. In many instances, judging the effectiveness of an intervention will require looking at species-specific differences in the way welfare is realized. Two animals may have the same overall capacity for welfare, and they may be subject to the same conditions (solitary confinement, say), but species-specific differences (one is a social animal and the other is not, say) may indicate that one animal suffers much more than the other in those conditions.

Nonetheless, I do believe thinking about capacity for welfare will help increase the efficiency with which our resources are allocated across interventions, especially when applied to big-picture questions, like "What percentage of our resources should ideally go to fish or crustaceans or insects?"

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-23T01:52:47.028Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Michael,

Thanks again. Regarding (2), I may be conflating a conversation I had with Luke about the subject back in February with the actual contents of his old LessWrong post on the topic. You're right that it's not clear that he's focusing on capacity for welfare in that post: he moves pretty quickly between moral status, capacity for welfare, and something like average realized welfare of the

"typical" conscious experience of "typical" members of different species when undergoing various "canonical" positive and negative experiences

Frankly, it's a bit confusing. (To be fair to Luke, he wrote that post before Kagan's book came out.) One hope of mine is that by collectively working on this topic more, we can establish a common conceptual framework within the community to better clarify points of agreement and disagreement.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T14:49:13.908Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comment.

  1. I'll admit that I'm not wedded to the term 'status-adjusted welfare.' I agree that it is less than ideal. I don't think 'moral weight' is better, but I also don't think it's much worse. If anyone has suggestions for a catch-all term for factors that might affect characteristic comparative moral value, I would be interested to hear them.

  2. Interesting. My reading of Muehlhauser is that when he talks of moral weight he almost exclusively means 'capacity for welfare' and basically never means 'moral status.' From conversations with him, I get the impression he is a unitarian and so doesn't endorse differences in moral status.

  3. Did you mean that status-adjusted welfare "captures" capacity for welfare to the extent that a lower or higher capacity for welfare will tend to reduce or increase the amount of welfare that is being experienced or changed?

This is close to what I meant, though I grant that maybe this isn't strong enough to qualify as 'capturing' capacity for welfare. The basic idea is that a unitarian and a hierarchist could in theory agree that, say, the status-adjusted welfare of a cow is generally higher than the status-adjusted welfare of a mealworm even if they disagree about the nature of moral status. The hierarchist might believe that the mealworm and the cow have the same welfare level, but the mealworm's welfare is adjusted downward. The unitarian might believe that the cow and the mealworm have the same moral status, but the cow has a greater capacity for welfare.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T14:36:53.950Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

First, to clarify, strictly speaking welfare subject is not meant to be synonymous with moral patient. Some people believe that things that lack moral standing can still be welfare subjects. You might think, for example, that plants aren't sentient and so don't have moral standing, but nevertheless there are things that are non-instrumentally good for plants, so plants can be welfare subjects. (I don't hold this view, but some do.)

Otherwise, I'm mostly sympathetic to your points. I don't object to talk of 'moral patienthood.' 'Moral standing' appears to be more popular in the literature, but maybe that's a terminological mistake.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T14:30:17.800Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

The sentence you quote is meant to express a sufficiency claim, not a necessity claim. But note that the sentence is about both sentience and agency. I don't know of any serious contemporary philosopher who has denied that the conjunction of sentience and agency is sufficient for moral standing, though there are philosophers who deny that agency is sufficient and a small number who deny that sentience is sufficient.

It's true that one could hold a view that moral standing is wholly grounded in the possession of a Cartesian soul, that the possession of a Cartesian soul grants agency and sentience, and that there are other ways to be a sentient agent that don't require a Cartesian soul. If that were true, then agency and sentience would not be sufficient for moral standing. But I don't know anybody who holds that view. Do you?

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T14:20:55.735Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Strictly speaking, the two sentences aren't equivalent. If you remove the two instances of "or" in the second sentence, then they are.

Footnote 59 has been fixed, thanks.

Yep, those are meant to be annual deaths.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T14:10:33.840Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your many comments. The section of the report you quote hints at the debate between moral realists and moral anti-realists, which is too vexed a topic to discuss fully here. However, it seems to me that you and I basically agree about coffee mugs. The way I would describe it is that coffee mugs lack moral standing (and hence lack moral status) because they are neither sentient nor agential. Entities that lack moral standing can be excluded from our moral reasoning (though of course they might matter instrumentally). According to you, coffee mugs should be excluded from our moral reasoning because they are not welfare subjects. Depending on your theory of welfare and moral status, the list of welfare subjects might be coextensive with the list of entities with moral standing.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T01:51:10.966Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Oscar,

Thanks again. Much (though not all) of my credence in the claim that there are significant differences in capacity for welfare across species derives from the credence I put in non-hedonistic theories of welfare. But I agree that differences in capacity for welfare don't entail that the interests of the animal with a greater capacity ought always be prioritized over the interests of the animal with the smaller capacity. And of course I agree that numbers matter. As you know, I'm quite concerned about our treatment of some invertebrates. When I express that concern to people, many suggest that even if, say, bees are sentient, they don't count for as much as, say, cows. I hope that thinking about both the number of exploited invertebrates and their capacity for welfare will help us figure out whether our current neglect of invertebrate welfare is justified. I suspect that when we get clear on what plausibly can and can't influence capacity for welfare (and to what extent), we'll see that the differences between mammals and arthropods aren't great enough to justify our current allocation of resources. At the very least, thinking more about it might reveal that we are deeply ignorant about differences in capacity for welfare across species. We can then try to account for that uncertainty in our allocation of resources.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-22T01:33:00.898Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Nicolas,

Thanks for the comment! There’s a lot of good stuff to unpack here. First I should acknowledge that the subject matter in question is complex, and the post intentionally simplifies some issues just to keep it readable. (For instance, the post assumes intrinsicalism about moral status.) If you’d like, I’d love to schedule a call to discuss the topic in more detail.

I agree that Kagan faces both a double-counting worry and an arbitrariness worry. On the whole, I think these two concerns are decent reasons to reject Kagan’s view. However, if I were to put on my hierarchical hat, I would suggest that so long as the intrinsic characteristics that determine moral status are distinct from the characteristics that determine capacity for welfare, the double-counting worry can be avoided. (I think there are other, more complicated ways to try to sidestep the double-counting worry as well.) The arbitrariness worry is harder to handle, but if one is wedded to certain intuitions, then it might be a bullet worth biting. If appeal to differences in moral status is the only way to avoid obligations that one finds deeply counterintuitive, then the appeal isn’t necessarily arbitrary. (Taking off my hierarchical hat, I think Sebo’s review of Kagan’s book does a good job summarizing why we should be skeptical of the sort of intuitions Kagan consistently draws on.)

I also agree that one can endorse a hierarchy of characteristic moral value without endorsing Kagan’s view. (Kagan says as much in chapter two of his book.) In the post, I’ve tried to suggest that a hierarchy based on capacity for welfare is importantly distinct from a hierarchy based on Kagan-style moral status. I’m sympathetic to the view that ultimately moral status is context-sensitive or agent-relative or somehow multidimensional, but it’s not clear how much of practical value we lose by suppressing this complication. I’ll think more about it!

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-19T13:26:24.315Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Oscar,

Thanks for another insightful comment. I think we agree that what ultimately matters morally is realized welfare. I think we disagree about the extent and size of differences in capacity for welfare, our ability to measure capacity for welfare, and the usefulness of thinking about capacity for welfare. (Please correct me if I have misconstrued our points of agreement and disagreement!) I'll take our points of disagreement in reverse order.

It's certainly true that differences in capacity for welfare won't always make a difference to the way we ought to allocate resources. If we are only alleviating mild suffering (or promoting mild pleasure) and we have reason to believe that more or less all welfare subjects have the capacity to experience welfare outcomes greater than mild suffering and mild pleasure, then capacity for welfare isn't really relevant. But it seems to me that most of the time humans exploit nonhuman animals, they inflict what prima facie looks to be intense suffering. If that's right, then knowing something about capacity for welfare might be important. Alleviating the suffering of the animals with a greater capacity for welfare would generally make a bigger welfare improvement.

On the second point: measuring capacity for welfare is going to be extremely difficult and doing so well is a big and long-term project. Nonetheless, I am cautiously optimistic that if we take this topic seriously, we can make real progress. Admittedly, there are a lot of ways such a project could go wrong, so maybe my optimism is misplaced. I lay out my thoughts in much more detail in the second post in this series (due to be released June 1), so maybe we should discuss the issue more then.

Finally, my reading of the literature suggests that most (though not all) plausible theories of welfare predict differences in capacity for welfare, though of course the size and extent of such differences depend on the details of the theory and various empirical facts. I would be curious to know which combination of theoretical and empirical claims you endorse that lead you to believe there aren't significant differences in capacity for welfare across species. (If you're right, thinking about capacity for welfare might still be useful if for no other reason than to dispel the old myth that such differences exist!)

Thanks again for reading and engaging with the post!

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T18:19:09.362Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

To clarify, this is if we're increasing their welfare by the same amount, right? Prioritarianism and egalitarianism wouldn't imply that it's better for the mouse to be moved to 10 than for the human to be moved to 100.

Right. The claim is that the prioritarian and the egalitarian would prefer to move the mouse from 9/10 to 10/10 before moving the human from 10/100 to 11/100. Kagan argues this is the wrong result, but because he doesn't want to throw out distributive principles altogether, he thinks the best move is to appeal to differences in moral status between the mouse and the human.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T18:15:13.631Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment. The question of value lexicality is a big issue, and I can't possibly do it justice in these comments alone, so if you want to schedule a call to discuss in more detail, I'm happy to do so.

That caveat aside, I'm pretty skeptical consent-based views can ground the relevant thresholds in a way that escapes the arbitrariness worry. The basic concern is that we can expect differences in ability to consent across circumstances and species that don't track morally relevant facts. A lot hangs on the exact nature of consent, which is surprisingly hard to pin down. See recent debates about the nature of consent in clinical trials, political legitimacy, human organ sales, sex, and general decision-making capacity.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T17:34:57.758Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment. The examples are purely illustrative, so it's probably best not to wrangle over the specifics of cleaner wrasse behavior and octopus drug responses. I think it's plausible there are some creatures that by virtue of their natural solitary behavior are incapable of developing intimate bonds with other animals. And although definitions of moral agency certainly vary, I find it plausible that many animals are moral patients but not moral agents. If those two claims are right, then it shows that objective list theories of welfare predict differences in capacity for welfare, which is the point I aim to make in the text.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T17:25:19.560Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment. The definition is meant to be neutral with respect to IIA.

The definition does assume that either S is identical across the relevant worlds or (as I mention in footnote 12) the subjects in the world stand in the counterpart relation to one another. Transworld identity is a notoriously difficult topic. I'm here assuming that there is some reasonable solution to the problem.

I'm not sure how much genetic change an individual can undergo whilst remaining the same individual. (I suspect lots, but intuitions seem to differ on this question.) As I mention in footnote 9, it's also unclear how much genetic change an individual can undergo whilst remaining the same species.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T16:22:21.887Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment. You're right that realized welfare is ultimately what matters. My hope is that thinking about capacity for welfare will sometimes help inform our estimates of realized welfare, though this certainly won't be true in every case. As an example of an instance where thinking about capacity for welfare does matter, consider honey bees. At any given time, there are more than a trillion managed honey bees under human control. Varroa destructor mites are a common problem in commercial hives. When a mite attaches to an adult bee, it slowly drains the bee's blood and fat. (It might be comparable to a tick the size of a baseball latching on to a human.) How does this affect the bee's welfare? If bees have a capacity for welfare roughly similar to vertebrates, it seems like in the long-run we can do a lot more good by focusing on honey bee welfare.

I believe that interspecies comparisons of welfare are extraordinarily difficult, but I think you are still too pessimistic about the prospect of making such comparisons. It's true that on many views welfare will be constituted (in whole or in part) by subjective (i.e., private) states for which we don't have direct evidence. But we can still use inference to the best explanation to justifiably infer the existence of such states. We only have access to our own subjective experiences, but we infer the existence of such states in other humans all the time. (Humans can give self-reports, but of course we can't independently verify such reports.) I think we can do the same with varying degrees of confidence for nonhuman animals.

For a discussion of possible cross-species measures of animal welfare, see this paper by Heather Browning.

Happy to really get in the weeds of this issue if you want to talk more.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T15:57:03.704Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

As an example of how capacity for welfare might be distinct from moral status, one might be a hedonist about welfare (and thus think that capacity for welfare is wholly determined by possible range of valenced experience and maybe subjective experience of time) but think that moral status is determined by degree of autonomy or rationality. The precise definition of welfarism is contentious, so I'll leave it to you to decide if that's a violation of welfarism.

However, I think even a welfarist should be wary of letting capacity for welfare determine moral status. The moral status of an individual tells us how much that individual's welfare is worth. If capacity for welfare determines moral status, then it seems like individuals with small capacities for welfare are unjustifiably doubly-penalized: they can only ever obtain a small amount of welfare and, in virtue of that fact, that small amount of welfare counts for less than an equal amount of welfare for an individual with a greater capacity for welfare. That strikes me as the wrong result.

On some interpretations of welfarism, I think the truth of welfarism gives us pretty good reason to endorse unitarianism. I'm also sympathetic to welfarism, but of course there are plenty of people who reject it. Anyone who endorses a retributive principle of justice, for instance, must reject welfarism.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T15:29:44.047Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

The way I'm using the terms, moral status and capacity for welfare are independent of realized welfare. Increasing realized welfare (e.g., through art/entertainment) doesn't raise one's capacity for welfare or moral status.

However, on some views, it does seem at least in principle possible to raise capacity for welfare through things like education. (I view your example of the intellectual stimulation of nonhuman animals as a type of education.) Educating a child might increase her capacity for certain objective goods, thereby increasing her capacity for welfare. On the other hand, it might be that educating the child simply makes it more likely that she will obtain those goods, thus raising her expected realized welfare rather than capacity for welfare. (Or perhaps education does both.) The answer depends on where we draw the line between potential and capacity, which naturally is going to be contentious. I'm hopeful that not much in practice hangs on this question, but I'm open to examples where it does.

Comment by jason-schukraft on Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species · 2020-05-18T15:15:48.259Z · score: 17 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Oscar,

Thanks for your comment. For what it's worth, I am not myself very sympathetic to the hierarchical view that holds that there are differences in moral status among creatures with moral standing. However, I think there are enough thoughtful people who do endorse such a view that it would be epistemically inappropriate to completely dismiss the position. These questions are tough, and I've tried to reflect our deep collective uncertainty about these matters in the post.

(I should perhaps also flag that even if there are differences in moral status, there is no a priori guarantee that humans have the highest moral status. I'm currently working on a piece about the subjective experience of time, and if there are differences in characteristic temporal experience across species, humans certainly don't come out on top of that metric. But perhaps that's irrelevant to moral status.)

Regarding the usefulness of capacity for welfare, naturally I disagree. Take fish, for instance. Fish are a tremendously diverse group of animals, and this diversity is reflected in human exploitation of fish. (By my count, humans exploit five times as many taxonomic families of fish as they do birds.) There is prima facie good reason to think that capacity for welfare differs substantially among different families of fish. The harms we inflict on fish, through aquaculture and commercial fishing, are severe, plausibly among the worst conditions the fish could experience. If capacity for welfare differs among fish, and we are inflicting severe harm on all exploited fish, then those differences in capacity for welfare would give us reason to prioritize some types of fish over others. The fish with the greater capacity for welfare are suffering more, so easing their suffering is more urgent.

Happy to talk more if you'd like.

Comment by jason-schukraft on MichaelA's Shortform · 2020-05-09T01:36:49.792Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · EA · GW

The term 'moral weight' is occasionally used in philosophy (David DeGrazia uses it from time to time, for instance) but not super often. There are a number of closely related but conceptually distinct issues that often get lumped together under the heading moral weight:

  1. Capacity for welfare, which is how well or poorly a given animal's life can go
  2. Average realized welfare, which is how well or poorly the life of a typical member of a given species actually goes
  3. Moral status, which is how much the welfare of a given animal matters morally

Differences in any of those three things might generate differences in how we prioritize interventions that target different species.

Rethink Priorities is going to release a report on this subject in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more details!

Comment by jason-schukraft on MichaelA's Shortform · 2020-05-08T13:17:13.595Z · score: 15 (5 votes) · EA · GW

A few months ago I compiled a bibliography of academic publications about comparative moral status. It's not exhaustive and I don't plan to update it, but it might be a good place for folks to start if they're interested in the topic.

Comment by jason-schukraft on How good is The Humane League compared to the Against Malaria Foundation? · 2020-04-30T01:24:05.970Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW

In Compassion, by the Pound, Norwood and Lusk estimate that a transition from cage to cage-free eggs would increase prices 21% which would decrease consumption 4% (350-351). But cage-free eggs also require more chickens. Norwood and Lusk estimate that one cage egg requires 0.003212204 chickens and one cage-free egg requires 0.003229267 chickens (233).

Comment by jason-schukraft on How good is The Humane League compared to the Against Malaria Foundation? · 2020-04-29T14:38:25.967Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Stephen and Aidan for this great report! These sorts of questions are super difficult but plausibly quite important. I appreciate how transparent you are about your uncertainty. Rethink Priorities has been doing some work on moral weight that will point to ways to hopefully reduce some key uncertainties. Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we begin to release our reports!