CFA: The Ethics of Giving

Submission deadline: January 9, 2017

Conference date(s):
May 23, 2017 - May 25, 2017

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Conference Venue:

University of St. Andrews
Saint Andrews, United Kingdom

Topic areas


The conference will feature talks by Peter Singer, Hilary Greaves, Larry Temkin, Laurie Paul, Christian Barry, and several other prominent figures.

We hope to include up to ten talks by postgraduate students and early career researchers. Funding permitting, we may be able to fully reimburse for travel/accommodation. If you are interested in applying, please submit an abstract of around 500 words to Theron Pummer (at by 9 January 2017. Please allow 2-3 weeks after this deadline for decisions to be made.

This conference will explore questions in the ethics of giving, for example:

- When, if ever, are we morally obligated to give to charity, for the sake of helping strangers?  What, if anything, is the basis of this obligation?

- Are some charities and charitable causes ‘better’ or more morally important than others?  What are the most important causes (e.g. global poverty, existential risks etc)?  What are our obligations when it is deeply unclear what the most important causes are?

- What is the role of partiality to the near and dear in charitable giving?  Do ‘personal’ connections justify giving to some charities over others, or should our decisions be guided by a more impartial concern for all?

- What are the limits on how much each of is morally obligated to give?  On what basis can we say when we have given ‘enough’?

- To what extent is there convergence among rival ethical theories (consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics) with respect to the ethics of giving?  Is it plausible, for example, that plausible versions of each of these theories would agree that we should give 10% of our incomes to effective charities?

- What are the philosophical foundations of the ‘effective altruism’ movement? Are they defensible? 

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