Toby Ord

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Toby David Godfrey Ord (born 18 July 1979) is an Australian philosopher. He is the founder of Giving What We Can, an international society dedicated to the elimination of poverty in the developing world.

Career[edit]

Ord attended the University of Melbourne, where he initially studied Computer Science. On completing his first degree, he switched to studying Philosophy in order to pursue his interest in ethics: "At this stage I knew that I wanted to make a large positive difference in the world and it seemed that studying ethics would help.” [1]

For his graduate studies, Ord moved to the University of Oxford, where he obtained both a B.Phil, and a D.Phil in Philosophy. Having submitted his doctoral thesis, ‘Beyond Action: applying consequentialism to decision making and motivation’, Ord was retained as a Junior Research Fellow by Balliol College, Oxford.[2] Alongside his main academic post, Ord also holds positions at Oxford University's Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and Future of Humanity Institute.[3][4] He has published widely on ethics and the philosophy of computation. His research interests include questions around global poverty, moral uncertainty and catastrophic risks.[5]

Giving What We Can[edit]

At Oxford, Ord resolved to give a significant proportion of his income to the most cost-effective charities he could find. Following a number of enquiries from people interested in making a similar commitment, Ord decided to set up an organization geared towards supporting like-minded donors.

In 2009, Ord launched Giving What We Can, an international society whose members have each pledged to donate at least 10% of their income to anti-poverty charities. The organization seeks not only to encourage people to give more of their money to charity, but also stresses the importance of giving to cost-effective charities,[6] arguing that "research shows that some are up to 10,000 times as effective as others" [7] While it does not collect money or undertake charity work directly, Giving What We Can carries out original research and recommends charities it believes to be particularly efficient. Ord remains director of Giving What We Can, and is closely involved in its day-to-day running.

Ord himself decided initially to cap his income at £20 000 per year, and to give away everything he earned above that to well researched charities, in line with the commitment Giving What We Can members make, of donating at least ten per cent of their incomes to the charities they believe to be the most effective.[8] A year later, he revised this figure down to £18 000.[9][10] Over the course of his career he expects his donations to total around £1 million.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Ord lives in Oxford with his wife, Bernadette Young, a doctor.[12] She is also a member of Giving What We Can.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Giving What We Can, Our Members". Giving What We Can. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Toby Ord CV". Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Dr Toby Ord, Research Fellow". University of Oxford. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Future of Humanity Institute Research Staff". University of Oxford. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Ross Andersen (February 25, 2013). "When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?". Aeon. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Tina Rosenberg (December 5, 2012). "Putting Charities to the Test". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Giving What We Can, Recommended Charities". Giving What We Can. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Javier Espinoza (November 28, 2011). "Small sacrifice, big return". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Toby Ord: Why I'm giving £1m to charity". BBC. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Nicholas Hellen (9 December 2012). "Oxford don sparks flood of charity cash". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "I will give £1m to charity, says Oxford don on £33,000 salary". The Daily Mail. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Susanna Rustin (December 24, 2011). "The Saturday interview: Toby Ord and Bernadette Young on the joy of giving". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Toby Ord: Why I'm giving £1m to charity". BBC. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 

External links[edit]