Longtermism is the view that positively influencing the long-term future has very high moral importance (Ord 2020: 46; MacAskill forthcoming).
A distinction is sometimes drawn between longtermism simpliciter and strong versions of that view (MacAskill 2019). While allowing that other forms of influence may also be important, strong longtermism holds that positively influencing the long-term future has dominant moral importance. This view has been defended by Hilary Greaves and William MacAskill (Greaves & MacAskill 2021), and has precedents in the work of Nick Bostrom (Bostrom 2003; Bostrom 2013), Nick Beckstead (Beckstead 2013; Beckstead 2019), and others.
Beckstead, Nick (2013) On the Overwhelming Importance of Shaping the Far Future, doctoral thesis, Rutgers University.
Beckstead, Nick (2019) A brief argument for the overwhelming importance of shaping the far future, in Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.) Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 80–98.
Bostrom, Nick (2003) Astronomical waste: The opportunity cost of delayed technological development, Utilitas, vol. 15, pp. 308–314.
Bostrom, Nick (2013) Existential risk prevention as global priority, Global Policy, vol. 4, pp. 15–31.
Greaves, Hilary & William MacAskill (2021) The case for strong longtermism, working paper.
MacAskill, William (2019) “Longtermism”, Effective Altruism Forum, July 25.
MacAskill, William (forthcoming) What We Owe the Future, New York: Basic Books.
Todd, Benjamin (2013) How important are future generations?, 80,000 Hours, August 19.
Whittlestone, Jess (2017) The long-term future, Effective Altruism, November 16.
ethics of existential risk | existential risk | existential security | institutions for future generations | long-range forecasting | macrostrategy | non-humans and the long-term future | patient altruism | trajectory change