Thanks very much. I am going to spend some time thinking about the von-Neumann-Mortgenstern theorem. Despite my huge in-built bias towards believing things labelled “von-Neumann”, at an initial scan I found only one of the axioms (transitivity) felt obviously “true” to me about things like “how good is the whole world?”. They all seem true if actually playing games of chance for money of course, which seems to often be the model. But I intend to think about that harder.
On GiveWell, I think they’re doing an excellent job of trying to answer these questions. I guess I tend to get a bit stuck at the value-judgement level (e.g. how to decide what fraction of a human life a chicken life is worth). But it doesn’t matter much in practice because I can then fall back on a gut-level view and yet still choose a charity from their menu and be confident it’ll be pretty damn good.