Thought Leadership

Some of the world’s leaders, and leading thinkers from NUS and overseas, regularly gather and add to the rich diversity of thoughts and ideas on our campuses, in Singapore and across the globe.
Here’s what they had to share.

What is “longtermism” and what does it have to do with our future?

What is “longtermism” and what does it have to do with our future?

Speakers: Assistant Prof F. Owen Schaefer 22 Dec 2022

The philosophy of longtermism, which has gained currency of late, is premised on the idea that future generations’ well-being should be a key priority, and prioritises the redirection of resources to protecting individuals’ interests for generations to come. However, Assistant Prof F. Owen Schaefer from the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine notes that the longtermism movement’s association with figures such as Elon Musk and FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried makes it controversial, and demonstrates how its tenets can be easily warped to justify personal gain. Dr Schaefer proposes that society adopt a more grounded and pragmatic “mixed-term” approach that would balance both the interests of individuals here and now, and in the far future. 

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