Moral circle expansion

Moral circle expansion

  • "Why I prioritize moral circle expansion over artificial intelligence alignment"
    This Effective Altruism Forum post by Jacy Reese outlines why he considers moral circle expansion to be an important cause area (which is one of the reasons he co-founded the Sentience Institute in 2017).
    "The basic case for MCE is very similar to the case for AIA [Artificial Intelligence Alignment]. Humanity could continue to exist for a very long time and could expand its civilization to the stars, creating a very large number of sentient beings. The sort of civilization we create, however, seems highly dependent on our moral values and moral behavior. In particular, it’s uncertain whether many of those sentient beings will receive the moral consideration they deserve based on their sentience, i.e. whether they will be in our “moral circle” or not, like the many sentient beings who have suffered intensely over the course of human history (e.g. from torture, genocide, oppression, war). It seems the moral circle can be expanded with a fairly small amount of additional resources (e.g. time, money), and therefore MCE is one of the most important projects of humanity and the EA community."

  • "Toward a Psychology of Moral Expansiveness"
    Abstract: "Theorists have long noted that people’s moral circles have expanded over the course of history, with modern people extending moral concern to entities—both human and nonhuman—that our ancestors would never have considered including within their moral boundaries. In recent decades, researchers have sought a comprehensive understanding of the psychology of moral expansiveness. We first review the history of conceptual and methodological approaches in understanding our moral boundaries, with a particular focus on the recently developed Moral Expansiveness Scale. We then explore individual differences in moral expansiveness, attributes of entities that predict their inclusion in moral circles, and cognitive and motivational factors that help explain what we include within our moral boundaries and why they may shrink or expand. Throughout, we highlight the consequences of these psychological effects for real-world ethical decision making."
    [Crimston, D., Hornsey, M. J., Bain, P. G., & Bastian, B. (2018). Toward a Psychology of Moral Expansiveness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(1), 14-19.]