Armageddon, who’s it bad for, anyway?

First published as part of the Huffington Post’s Apocalypse series.

How bad is the end of the world? It’s well, the end of the world, isn’t it? It’s in the name. How could anything be worse than the end to everything?

But is the end of the world that bad? Let’s […]

February 2nd, 2018|

‘What Are The Best Ways To Improve World Happiness? A Quick Look A Pain, Poverty, Drugs and Depression’ talk at Effective Altruism Global

Abstract: All plausible moral theories agree increasing the happiness of currently existing people during their lifetimes is intrinsically good. Despite, or perhaps because of, this agreement, surprisingly little work has been done to find out what the most effective ways to improve world happiness are. In this short talk, I share […]

January 18th, 2018|

The Moral Urgency Of Mental Health

Co-written with Peter Singer. This is cross-posted from Project Syndicate, where it original appeared.

If we can prevent great suffering at no cost to ourselves, we ought to do so. That principle is widely accepted and difficult to dispute. Yet Western governments are neglecting an opportunity to […]

November 17th, 2017|

The Philanthropist’s Paradox

Many people interested in effective charity worry about whether it’s better to give now or invest and give later. I’ve realised there is an additional worry for people who (like me) are sceptical of the value of the far future. Roughly, it looks like you’re rationally committed to investing your […]

June 24th, 2017|

A taxonomy of happiness interventions

Abstract: If we want to maximise happiness we should establish what the full range of options are first and then pick the best ones. As no comprehensive list of options seems to exist I take a first pass at creating one in this chapter. This provides a check-list to ensure we […]

May 18th, 2017|

Intuition Jousting: What It Is And Why It Should Stop

Word count: 1,152

Over the past year or so I’ve become steadily more aware of and annoyed by a phenomeon I’m going to call, for lack of a better term, ‘intuition jousting’ (‘IJ’). My experience, and obviously I can only speak for my own, is that IJ is a quite a […]

March 24th, 2017|

Exploring hedonic adaptation and its implications for happiness maximisation

Word count: 4,163

  1. Introduction

If we want to increase happiness it follows we need to understand what makes people happy and for how long. In this paper I explore the purpose and mechanisms of hedonic adaptation – the process by which the affective intensity of constant of repeated stimuli diminishes over […]

March 21st, 2017|

What Philosophy Should, But Won’t, Learn From Silicon Valley

We publish philosophy like hardware even though we write it like software.

Word count: 1,203

(update, 19/03/2017: I notice this has now been picked up on reddit in both philosophy and badphilosophy.  As context, I wrote this a couple of days ago to vent my frustration at how slowly philosophy (including my own) […]

March 16th, 2017|
I’m Michael Plant. I’m doing a PhD in Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. I research the most-effective ways to improve world happiness. I use ths blog to share my poorly-formed ideas.

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As a consequence of trying to simultaneously start a start-up and finish a PhD, I don’t have much spare time, including for this blog. However, if you have an opportunity or introduction you think could increase world (or my) joy, please email me at the address below. For the reasons stated above, I can only promise to respond to suggestions that fit my current schedule and interests.

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