[Link] “Radical Consequence and Heretical Knots” – an ethnography of the London EA community
Previously: I want an ethnography of EA
Dan Artus wrote an ethnography of the London EA community. Here’s the abstract:
This dissertation ethnographically explores the relationship between data, ethics, rationality and empathy in the London branch of the Effective Altruist community.
The Effective Altruists are a global movement inspired by the utilitarian views of Australian philosopher Peter Singer. Through promoting the use of data and evidence over empathy in maximising the good people do, they are often a source of controversy.
In their radical quest to maximise the good they do, complex sets of relationships and meanings emerge in a tangle I call the ‘Heretical Knot’. I set out a frame for how we can think about and untangle this knot in the ethical lives of the Effective Altruists.
I do this by taking ethics as the open question of ‘what shall I do?’, rather than predeterminate of specific meanings or practises. Rather, by focusing on processes of decision-making and the ethical agency of objects, I explore the complex relationship between data and ethics as they emerge in the lives of the Effective Altruists. In this way, I trace how data and objects mediate specific types of moral and ethical relationships between actors.
(h/t David Nash for surfacing this.)