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IAI Live January: Loving Oneself and Loving Others

The trouble with altruism

Jonathan Dancy, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek, Carol Gilligan, Richard Wrangham, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Dan Ariely


From philanthropy to self-sacrifice, we widely applaud altruism and selflessness as the benchmarks of the modern world. In recent years, the burgeoning Effective Altruism movement has capitalised on these feelings; with world-leading philosophers and business superstars – like Peter Singer and Elon Musk – insisting on the importance of these ideals to morality, and the future of the world.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the convicted fraudster and founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, made grand pledges of contributing his wealth to charities under the guise of altruism. In reality, SBF's actions were revealed as a strategic marketing ploy to distinguish the company, capitalizing on the widespread appeal of an altruistic front.

With billionaires (and convicted felons) at the centre of the movement, there seems reason for caution. Could their commitment to altruism possibly be sincere, and capable of alleviating global ills? Or is it all just a marketing ploy, pursued to serve the particular interests of both the company and the individual?

Join us for our upcoming IAI Live on the 8th January, where our panel of experts will delve into the question of altruism – exploring whether altruism can ever really be genuine, and if selfless intentions can be translated into positive actions. 

This event is produced in association with Closer To Truth.