Moral Uncertainty, Proportionality and Bargaining


Authors: Dr. Michael Plant

Patrick Kaczmarek, Harry R. Lloyd and Michael Plant


As well as disagreeing about how much one should donate to charity, moral theories also disagree about where one should donate. In light of this disagreement, how should the morally uncertain philanthropist allocate her donations? In many cases, one intuitively attractive option is for the philanthropist to split her donations across all of the charities that are recommended by moral views in which she has positive credence, with each charity’s share being proportional to her credence in the moral theories that recommend that particular charity. Despite the fact that something like this approach is already being used by real-world philanthropists to distribute billions of dollars of donations, it is not supported by any of the approaches to moral uncertainty that have been proposed thus-far in the philosophical literature. In this paper, we will develop a bargaining-based approach to moral uncertainty that honors the proportionality intuition in favor of splitting one’s donations. We also show how this bargaining-based approach has several further advantages over the best alternative proposals.