London, UK & Berkeley, CA – EIN 471988398 forethought.org
A project of the Center for Effective Altruism
About the Forethought Foundation
The Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research aims to promote academic work that addresses the question of how to use our scarce resources to improve the world by as much as possible.
We are especially interested in the idea that the primary determinant of the value of our actions today is how those actions influence the very long-run future. We believe that by making the right decisions today, humanity has the opportunity to positively steer civilisation’s trajectory for thousands of years to come. We are therefore interested in supporting excellent research that:
– Defends or criticizes the idea that we should primarily care about the very long-run impact of our actions.
– Is of importance for the long-run future of civilization, even if the research is not directly about the idea of long-term impact.
The Forethought Foundation is a project of the Centre for Effective Altruism, and works in close collaboration with the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford University.
Global priorities research is an academic discipline at the intersection of philosophy, economics, and the social sciences. It aims to determine how individuals and institutions should spend their limited resources in order to improve the world by as much as possible.
For more information on global priorities research, see the Global Priorities Institute (GPI) website and the GPI research agenda.
The Forethought Foundation is planning to offer scholarships and fellowships to students in global priorities research, as well as research grants for established scholars.
Scottish philosopher and ethicist
William MacAskill (né Crouch; born 24 March 1987) is a Scottish philosopher, ethicist, and one of the originators of the effective altruism movement. He is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, a researcher at the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford and Director of the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research.
MacAskill's research has two main focuses. The first addresses the issue of how one ought to make decisions under normative uncertainty; in addition to a DPhil on the topic, he has published on this issue in Ethics,Mind, and The Journal of Philosophy.
In the book, he argues that many of the ways people think about doing good achieve very little, but that by applying data and scientific reasoning to the normally sentimental world of doing good, opportunities to have a huge positive impact can be found. MacAskill also makes controversial claims such as the fact that fair trade does very little to help the poorest farmers, that boycotting sweatshops might make things worse for the global poor and that people who pursue high-income careers such as plastic surgeons or wall street bankers could do more good than charity workers.
MacAskill's argument that young idealists can consider working for Wall Street has been the subject of a New York Times op-ed by David Brooks. Brooks argued that, while effective altruists may start earning to give in order to realise their deepest commitments, their values may erode over time, becoming progressively less altruistic. In addition, Brooks objected to the view on which altruists should turn themselves "into a machine for the redistribution of wealth."
MacAskill (born Crouch) argued that men should consider changing their last names when they get married; he and his fiancée changed their name to "MacAskill", her maternal grandmother's maiden name. MacAskill and his former wife, Amanda, have authored articles together on topics of ethical debate.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94115-1814 | Tax-exempt since Feb. 2015
Classification (NTEE) Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (Educational Institutions and Related Activities)
Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3) Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Donations to this organization are tax deductible.