12. Crucial Considerations and Wise Philanthropy (2014)

By Nick Bostrom

Within a utilitarian context, one can perhaps try to explicate [crucial considerations] as follows: a crucial consideration is a consideration that radically changes the expected value of pursuing some high-level subgoal. The idea here is that you have some evaluation standard that is fixed, and you form some overall plan to achieve some high-level subgoal. This is your idea of how to maximize this evaluation standard. A crucial consideration, then, would be a consideration that radically changes the expected value of achieving this subgoal, and we will see some examples of this. Now if you stop limiting your view to some utilitarian context, then you might want to retreat to these earlier more informal formulations, because one of the things that could be questioned is utilitarianism itself. But for most of this talk we will be thinking about that component.

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