William MacAskill

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William MacAskill
MacAskill in 2013
Born William Crouch
(1987-03-24) March 24, 1987 (age 30)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
St Edmund Hall, Oxford
St Anne's College, Oxford
Website williammacaskill.com
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Institutions Lincoln College, Oxford
Giving What We Can
80,000 Hours
Main interests
Effective altruism

William MacAskill (born William Crouch;[1] March 24, 1987) is a Scottish philosopher and notable figure within the effective altruism movement.[2][3] He is a tutorial fellow in philosophy at Lincoln College, Oxford.[4] MacAskill is the founder and president of 80,000 Hours,[5] the co-founder and vice-president of Giving What We Can,[6] and the author of Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference.


MacAskill studied philosophy at Jesus College, Cambridge (BA), at St Edmund Hall, Oxford (BPhil), and at St Anne's College, Oxford[7] where he obtained a DPhil in philosophy in 2013, supervised by Roger Crisp.[8]


MacAskill's work and his organisations have been featured in The New York Times,[9] The Wall St Journal,[10] The Washington Post,[11] The Huffington Post,[12] The Guardian,[13] BBC News,[14] BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme,[15] CNBC,[16] NPR,[17] TED,[18] and other media outlets globally. He is a regular contributor to Quartz, and has written for The New Yorker,[19] The Guardian,[20] The Independent,[21] Time,[22] and The Washington Post.[23]

MacAskill's argument that young idealists should work for Wall Street has been the subject of a New York Times op-ed by David Brooks.[24] Brooks argued that, while effective altruists may start earning to give in order to realize their deepest commitments, their values may erode over time, becoming progressively less altruistic. In addition, Brooks objected to the view on which altruists should turn themselves "into a machine for the redistribution of wealth."

In 2014, MacAskill was a notable critic of the ice bucket challenge.[25][26][27]


  1. ^ MacAskill, William. "Men Should Consider Changing Their Last Names When They Get Married". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Derek The Greatest Good The Atlantic. June 25, 2015
  3. ^ Diver, Tony (1 March 2017). "While the papers whine about Oxbridge debauchery, student altruism gets ignored". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  4. ^ "Dr William MacAskill". www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Meet the Team". Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  6. ^ "The Team". Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  7. ^ "Dr William MacAskill - Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy". Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  8. ^ MacAskill, William. "Academia.edu". Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  9. ^ Rosenberg, Tina. "Putting Charities to the Test". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  10. ^ Espinoza, Javier. "Small Sacrifice, Big Return". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  11. ^ Matthews, Dylan. "Join Wall Street. Save the world.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  12. ^ "Rutgers Students Launch Movement, Promise Half Of Salary To Charities For Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  13. ^ "Unthinkable? Giving 10%". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  14. ^ Coughlan, Sean. "Banking 'can be an ethical career choice'". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  15. ^ Hislop, Ian. "Do bankers make the world better?". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  16. ^ "Wall Street Saves the World?". CNBC. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  17. ^ Memmot, Mark. "How Much Good Can You Do?". NPR. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  18. ^ Singer, Peter. "The why and how of effective altruism". TED. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  19. ^ MacAskill, William. "Does Divestment Work?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  20. ^ MacAskill, William. "What Is the Most Effective Way to Help Refugees". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  21. ^ "How to make a difference this Tuesday". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  22. ^ MacAskill, William. "Skydiving for Charity". Time. Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  23. ^ MacAskill, William. "Working for a Hedge Fund Could Be the Most Charitable Thing You Do". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  24. ^ Brooks, David. "The Way to Produce a Person". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  25. ^ Condon, Stephanie Ice bucket challenge: More than just "hashtag activism"? CBS News. June 25, 2015
  26. ^ Wilkinson, Michael Why I turned down the Ice Bucket Challenge The Telegraph. June 25, 2015
  27. ^ Specter, Michael A Better Ice-Bucket Challenge The New Yorker. June 25, 2015


  • William MacAskill (2015). Doing Good Better - Effective Altruism And a Radical Way to Make a Difference . Guardian Faber, ISBN 978 1 78335 049 0

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