The ethics of giving: Why, where, and how much?

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

You have the power to do an enormous amount of good with little money, if you use it wisely: You can spare a child from debilitating parasitic worms for less than the price of a cup of coffee. You can save hundreds of lives during your working years, by giving away 10% of your income to fighting malaria. In this lecture, I argue that we should give to charities helping people in extreme poverty, that we should give to the most cost-effective charities we can find, and that we should give considerably more than most people do. My conclusions do not depend on the adoption of any particular ethical theory (e.g. utilitarianism) but instead are supported by plausible beliefs about particular cases.

Dr Theron Pummer is a Plumer Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, and as of September 2014 will be a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He works primarily in ethics, and wrote a PhD dissertation titled The Ethics of Distribution (University of California, San Diego, 2013). Dr Pummer was the President of the UC San Diego chapter of the international organization Giving What We Can from 2011 to 2014, and has worked with Prof Peter Singer both as a philosopher and as an advocate for effective charitable giving.

Reception to follow lecture