Case study: Learning to be an effective altruist 

Akhil Jalan

In the autumn 2016 term, Effective Altruists of the University of California, Berkeley organized and taught a ‘DeCal’ course called ‘The Greater Good’. A DeCal or ‘Democratic Education at Cal’ is an independent course organized and taught by students. These courses are quite popular at Berkeley, with dozens offered for credit each semester.

The Greater Good is designed to be an introduction to many of the core concepts in effective altruism – the basis of which is to maximize the good you can do.

The Doe Memorial Library, Berkeley.

Weekly classes are two hours long and cover topics including moral trade-offs, prioritization of causes, and quantitative reasoning. A typical class would be structured around a presentation by the class teacher with discussions interspersed at various points.

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Ayse Inan