Crucial Considerations are ideas that potentially imply radical changes to our world-view and priorities – radical changes to what we should think and do, as individuals and society. Put another way, they concern issues where mistakes are most dangerous (for the achievement of our goals), issues that we want to make especially sure we “get right”. As Nick Bostrom points out, “if we have overlooked even just one such consideration, then all our best efforts might be for naught – or less. When headed the wrong way, the last thing needed is progress.” Locating crucial considerations is a matter of big-picture thinking and asking the right questions, it requires interdisciplinary expertise and knowledge about formal and human (ir)rationality.
Crucial Considerations (CC) is a blog by the Foundational Research Institute (FRI), which investigates the best ways to reduce suffering in humanity’s future. While FRI focuses on novel prioritisation research, this blog covers a broader range of topics. It thereby elucidates the background of FRI research and provides a general introduction to topics at the intersection of science and ethics. We hope to create a growing resource on crucial, potentially game-changing topics in science, philosophy, rationality and ethics.
Lucius Caviola is a PhD candidate in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Basel and an MSc from the University of Oxford. His research interests focus on questions at the intersection of psychology, ethics and rationality.
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Jonathan Erhardt holds a PhD in law from the University of Bern and a BPhil in philosophy from Oxford. He is interested in consciousness, philosophical methods, (meta)metaphysics, and philosophy of language.
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Lukas Gloor studies philosophy and biology at Zurich University and writes mostly on various topics in ethics, metaethics, and evolution.
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Adrian Hutter is a PhD student in theoretical physics at the University of Basel with several publications in the fields of quantum physics and quantum computation. For FRI, he investigates implications of theoretical physics and the conditions under which cooperation between goal-driven agents can arise.
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Adriano Mannino studied philosophy at Bern University and publishes predominantly in theoretical and practical ethics and moral psychology.
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From 2009-2013 Brian Tomasik worked as a software engineer at Microsoft, using machine learning to improve Bing’s search results. He graduated from Swarthmore College, where he studied computer science and mathematics / statistics. He is the author of over 100 pieces on his website, Essays on Reducing Suffering, as well as several published papers.
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