Hello and welcome to this course on effective altruism. I'm Peter Singer, I'm a Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. And I've written about a range of different topics, Including the way we ought to treat animals in my book, Animal Liberation. And issues about life and death decisions in healthcare. And also, the topic we're going to talk about, which is the obligations of the affluent towards people in extreme poverty. And, that was the topic of a book I wrote a few years ago called, The Life You Can Save, and also my most recent book The Most Good You Can Do. This course then is about effective altruism. You might say, well what's that? It's both a philosophical outlook on life and an emerging movement. The outlook on life is one of saying, I want my life to make a positive difference to the world, to make the world a better place. Not necessarily that everything I do in my life will be directed toward that, you don't have to be a saint to be an effective altruist. But a significant part of your life will be aimed at making the world better and that's the altruistic part, if you like. The effective part of it is, but you want to use those resources that you have, whether it's time, skills, money, you want to use them as effectively as possible. You want to get the best value that you can for what you're putting into making the world a better place. So that's why you want to do the most good that you can with those resources. So how do you do that? That's one of the things we're going to start talking about in this course, beginning with our responsibilities towards people living in extreme poverty. It's a common assumption in our society that you can live an ethical life by just going about your daily business and not harming others. Not cheating, not lying, not stealing, not doing harm, it's the thou shalt nots that you have to obey. I want to challenge that in a couple of different ways. I want to discuss the challenge that we ought to be doing good, that that's something that is ethically required of us, especially when we could do so relatively easily. When we can make a big difference to the lives of others with minimal or even no cost to ourselves, or only a small cost. I also want to discuss the argument that just in our daily lives we are actually violating human rights. The human rights of the poor and that position is associated especially with the philosopher Thomas Pogge. An important part of this course is going to be to discuss the effectiveness of aid, what works and what doesn't work. How do you go about determining what the most effective interventions are? These are questions that governments might consider in distributing their government aid programs. But as an individual donor, you would also want to know or you should also want to know what charities will do the most good with the money you give them. So I've invited some guests to this course to discuss these questions with me. I've also invited as guests people who are part of the growing Effective Altruism Movement. This is a relatively young movement of people who are living differently from the way people have typically lived before, when they thought they were living a satisfactory, ethical life. And I've invited them to the course to talk about what drives them to live this way, and how does effective altruism affect their day to day life. We're also going to talk in the course about how altruism can affect career choices. Most people, if you think about choosing a career that would be highly ethical, would think, well, I should go work in the charity sector as an aide worker perhaps. Or I should go to medical school, become a doctor and work in a developing country. But as we'll see, that's not necessarily the case. There might be some surprising options that are effective in terms of helping the poor. And right at the end of the course, we're going to circle back to some of the foundational philosophical questions. If, as I'll be suggesting, morality if more demanding than just keeping the thou shalt not commands, then you might say, why should I do that? Why should I try to live an ethical life if morality is more demanding than I thought it was? And of course, that relates to the further question, well exactly how demanding is morality, really? These are philosophical questions, but you don't need a background in philosophy to take this course. I do, however, want to give you an opportunity to learn about, and brush up your knowledge, of philosophical ethics. So I'm including some lectures and readings on metaethics and normative ethical theories. Metaethics refers to the nature of ethics, to questions like can ethical views be objectively true or are they just subjective, like matters of taste. And normative ethical theories are those theories that try to answer the question of how we should live, what's the right thing to do? So if you do know a little bit about ethics already, but you want to refresh your knowledge, or if you don't know it at all then do check out the course material on metaethics and normative ethical theories. My hope is that this course will encourage discussion and debate. So please go to the forums, the discussion forums, and participate in the peer reviewed assignments that we will be setting and in the giving game. We'll tell you more about that as the course goes on. To conclude, then let me say, I hope this course will help you to clarify your own values. And that it will also, not just clarify your values, but perhaps challenge some of them, in some respects, and make a difference in the way you're going to live your life, from now on. Thank you.