The RSA uses cookies on this website. By using this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more read our cookie policy and privacy policy. More Info

Can Altruism Be More Effective?

RSA Event

 - 

Great Room Auditorium, RSA House

What is the best way to live a fully ethical life? What is the most good you can do?

Peter Singer’s ideas have been disturbing our complacency ever since the appearance of his radical essay on animal rights. He now visits the RSA to discuss a provocative new movement in which his own ideas have played a crucial role: effective altruism.

Effective altruism is built upon the idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the "most good you can do." Such a life requires a new and unsentimental view of charitable giving: to be a worthy recipient of our support, an organisation must be able to demonstrate that it will do more good with our money or our time than all the other options open to us.  

Singer has controversially challenged those who donate to the arts, and to charities focused on helping our fellow citizens, rather than those for whom we can do the most good. Is he right – should we only focus on rationally maximising the good we can do, and will that help us tackle the world’s most pressing problems?

Related events

  • A new framework for change

    Online via Zoom

    RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor introduces co-ordination theory - a set of ideas about human motivation, social forces and the dynamics of change that can help us diagnose critical collective challenges, and develop new ways to solve them together.

  • What does philanthropy mean today?

    Online via YouTube

    What role can charitable giving play in building a stronger and fairer society, through the pandemic and beyond? An expert panel featuring Sir Bob Geldof, Paul Vallely and Fran Perrin gathers to reflect on how we can give better.

  • The global challenge of vaccine equity

    Online via YouTube

    The speed of Covid-19 vaccine development offered worldwide hope for a way out of the pandemic. But global vaccine access and distribution has proved drastically uneven and unjust. An expert panel discuss how we might meet the scale of the equity challenge.