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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

Why MacAskill Is Wrong about What We Owe the Future

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer, Don Watkins, and Mike Mazza discuss Oxford philosophy professor William MacAskill’s new book, What We Owe the Future. The book advocates “Longtermism,” which calls for treating the well-being of people in the indefinite future as equal in value to presently existing people. Bayer, Watkins, and Mazza offer an egoistic perspective on the value of the future and critique MacAskill’s call to sacrifice for future generations.

Among the topics covered:

  • To what extent it is rational to value the future;
  • What makes progress possible;
  • Analyzing some concrete longtermist policy proposals;
  • Major philosophical problems with the longtermist perspective;
  • Longtermism’s roots in the effective altruism movement;
  • How longtermism reveals the bankruptcy of the humanities.

The podcast was recorded on September 30, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Mike Mazza

Mike Mazza, PhD in philosophy, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a member of the Ayn Rand University faculty.

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