[Link] Aiming for Moral Mediocrity | Eric Schwitzgebel

This is a linkpost for https://​​fac­ulty.ucr.edu/​​~es­chwitz/​​Sch­witzAbs/​​Mo­ralMe­di­ocrity.htm

Abstract

Most peo­ple aim to be about as morally good as their peers, not es­pe­cially bet­ter, not es­pe­cially worse. We do not aim to be good, or non-bad, or to act per­mis­si­bly rather than im­per­mis­si­bly, by fixed moral stan­dards. Rather, we no­tice the typ­i­cal be­hav­ior of our peers, then cal­ibrate to­ward so-so. This is a some­what bad way to be, but it’s not a ter­ribly bad way to be. We are some­what morally crit­i­ciz­able for hav­ing low moral am­bi­tions. Typ­i­cal ar­gu­ments defend­ing the moral ac­cept­abil­ity of low moral am­bi­tions—the So-What-If-I’m-Not-a-Saint Ex­cuse, the Fair­ness Ar­gu­ment, the Happy Coin­ci­dence Defense, and the claim that you’re already in The-Most-You-Can-Do Sweet Spot—do not with­stand crit­i­cal scrutiny.

This isn’t di­rectly rele­vant to effec­tive al­tru­ism, but I thought it might be of in­ter­est to some peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.