NIU Professor to teach altruism

AJ Fournier , Staff Reporter

Aiming to teach how to make the most of charity donations by giving effectively, Mylan Engel Jr., a philosophy professor from Northern Illinois University will deliver a lecture on this concept.

The lecture, called “Effective Altruism Through Omission,” will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Coleman Hall Auditorium.

Engel said Effective Altruism is a new movement which uses evidence based studies to see which charities are most effective as solving a variety of different problems, and how to best help others.

“Effective Altruism puts that knowledge into practice to help solve some of the most pressing moral problems,” Engel said.

Engel is member of the Illinois Philosophical Association and has attended the IPA Conference held at Eastern in 2005, 2010 and 2015.

“Most people want to do good, they see a problem and want to help,” Engel said. “So consider they are donating to a charity, how do they know that specific charity will do any good?”

Engel said some charities are usually more effective than others at solving problems, and the overall goal of is to find those charities so problems around the world can be solved.

“It is the idea of doing good better,” Engel said.

Engel said this lecture will help people who want to do good after seeing suffering or injustice but are unsure how to exactly tackle the problem.

“Those interested in doing better owe it to themselves to learn more about the growing effective altruism movement,” Engel said.

Philosophy chair Jonelle DePetro said the Philosophy club idea requested Engel to come to Eastern to present.

“He is always willing to meet with students, visit classes and spend time chatting with faculty,” DePetro said.

DePetro said students who attend will learn a better understanding of what they can do to make the world a better place.

“Dr. Engel will identify the four major moral crises we face and that he will tell us how we can make the most effective positive impact in the world,” DePetro said.

He said students will also learn of the different things people can do to give back.

“Most of us want to do good. When we see suffering, injustice and death we are often moved to do something about them,” DePetro said. “But working out what we should do let alone actually doing it can be a difficult problem.

He said anyone who is interested in social justice should come to this presentation.

“You don’t have to be a billionaire to do something really significant in the world,” DePetro said.

AJ Fournier can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]