Is Art A Waste Of Time?

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There is an old saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Effective Altruists, genuinely well-meaning people, whose goal is to do as much good as they can, seem not to notice the flaws in some of their methods. Robert Southan is a screenplay writer who recounts his encounters with some Effective Altruists in his essay “Is Art a Waste of Time?” He says that Effective Altruists generally do not consider art to be a worthy profession for they perceive it to be an occupation that has little potential to do good for others. However, they do not take into account the enormous emotional support that art has had for countless people. Music, in particular, is part of nearly all cultures and is instrumental in creating situations in…show more content…
Rhys Southan explains the idea of replaceability “The idea is that the only good that counts is what you accomplish over and above what the next person would have done in your place. In equation form, Your Apparent Good Achieved minus the Good Your Counter-factual Replacement Would Have Achieved equals Your Actual Good Achieved” (Southan 436). This view suggests that any good a person does that someone may have done in their place is meaningless. In reality, good deeds have intrinsic value, and the effect that they have cannot be negated by a simple math equation. For example, if one donates food to a homeless shelter that someone else would have in their place, it does not erase the fact that there was a person who was able to eat dinner because of the food donor. There is another issue with the Effective Altruist’s logic. At least one of the variables in the equation is neither quantifiable nor measurable. The good that one would have done in another’s place is hypothetical, and cannot be proven. Effective Altruists consider a monetary donation to qualified charities to be the best way to help people. They also believe that art itself does not contribute to the wellbeing of others. As such, the fact that rarely earns enough money from art to be significantly charitable and Effective Altruists belief that art is not useful combine to be a justification for their claim that art is not a
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