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The Rules of Rescue: Core Ideas by Dr. Theron Pummer
06 Mar 2023

“In this talk, I present the core ideas of The Rules of Rescue: Cost, Distance, and Effective Altruism. These include the following. (1) There are “requiring reasons” to help strangers, but they fail to generate moral requirements when there are sufficiently strong “permitting reasons” not to incur the costs of helping. (2) It is wrong to help a lesser number of strangers rather than help at least twice as many others, all else equal. (3) It can be wrong to help a lesser rather than greater number of strangers, even when it is permissible to help no one. (4) There are strong requiring reasons to help distant strangers by donating to charity, even if there are morally relevant differences between donating and rescuing nearby strangers from drowning. (5) The costs you reasonably expect you will incur in helping others over the course of your life can make it permissible not to help now. (6) Reasons to engage in effective altruism do not depend on consequentialism. (7) A significant proportion of us are required either to be effective altruists or else to provide no less help over our lives than we would have done if we were effective altruists. Here is a website with information about the book the talk will be based upon: “

You are welcome to join this online lecture organised by the Hong Kong Catastrophic Risk Centre on the 6th of March 2023 (Monday) from 12:00nn to 1:30pm (Hong Kong Standard Time, GMT +8).

Participation is free but registration is required.
For enquiries, please call 2616 7488 or e-mail to