William MacAskill is that rare creature: a true visionary and iconoclast, a bright rising star in the too often stodgy field of philanthropy. Like many people in the Effective Altruism movement, I anticipated this week's release of MacAskill's book Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference.
Utilitarianism says that we should always do what will have the best consequences for all those affected by our actions. "Best consequences" generally refers to well-being, in some sense, although utilitarians differ on whether this means happiness, and the reduction of suffering, or something like the satisfaction of preferences.
The ultimate purpose of my farm, though not the whole point, is to raise animals to be slaughtered so that we can eat their meat. Though it is arguably better to treat an animal as an animal rather than a widget, in either case we are assuming that an animal does not have the same capacity for feeling as a human.