Normative Uncertainty and Wild-animal Suffering

Dimitri van Capelleveen

I recently completed a Bachelor Philosophy (at the Free University of Amsterdam). Currently, I’m doing a Research Master Philosophy (at the same university), which has ethics and epistemology as its main topics. I’m planning to focus mainly on ethics, specifically, on issues within normative ethics with seeming relevance for Effective Altruism.

Author’s Note

What is the impact of normative uncertainty on the prioritization of wild-animal suffering?  This is the initial research question of my thesis, posed by Wild-Animal Suffering Research. I address it by framing the question of whether we should or should not intervene in nature to reduce wild-animal suffering as a decision under normative uncertainty. Someone has to make such a decision if and only if she gives credence to at least two normative theories that prescribe multiple options. I apply two theories for decision-making under normative uncertainty to the decision, “My Favourite Theory” (MFT) and “Maximize Expected Choice-Worthiness” (MEC), which I both also evaluate.