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Keven Bisson

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PhD Student
McGill University

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I am currently a PhD Student at McGill University under the supervision of Iwao Hirose. My master degree is on effective altruism and its criticisms. For my PhD I focus on an ethical theory recently developed  by effective altruism: longtermism. I am currently a research assistant for the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Technology and Human Nature, the host of the podcast Parlons Éthique, a co-organizer for Effective Altruism Montréal, and the founder of Supporte la Vague, an ONG aiming at lowering the fees of remittances toward Africa. 

Research Interests

My Ph.D. research is on longtermism: the ethical view that we should prioritize the interest of far-future people in our ethical decisions today. Individual contributions have a minuscule (some would say 'negligible') probability of impacting humanity. By contrast, individual contributions can surely impact a restricted number of individuals in the short term. In this case, what is morally required for individuals: support the short-term or the long-term prospect?

There are two main views on this debate entailing a different choice: recklessness and timidity. Recklessness entails that no probability is negligible, preferring the long-term prospect. By contrast, the most plausible timid view, discounting timidity, entails that the long-term prospect has a negligible probability of success, thus preferring the short-term prospect. Each view faces many objections. I argue that a timid discounting view with a continuous and vague discounting threshold is preferable. 

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