Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 269–283 | Cite as

Replaceability, Career Choice, and Making a Difference

  • William MacAskillEmail author

There are few decisions in life more important than one’s choice of career. Typically, one’s career choice determines how one spends over 80 000 hours—a sizable proportion of one’s waking life. One’s choice of career can therefore be the determining factor in whether one’s life is fruitful or worthless; happy or miserable; admirable or contemptible.

This decision is not only important, however. It’s also common. Almost all people living in rich countries, and certainly those who are lucky enough to be university-educated, are able to make decisions about how they will earn a living. And, as socioeconomic conditions improve throughout the world, the number of people worldwide who have a genuine ability to choose between jobs will only increase.

Remarkably, however, very little philosophical work has been done on the ethics of career choice. This is something of a disappointment on the part of practical ethics, insofar as we should expect that discipline to offer advice about one of the...


Practical ethics Career choice Making a difference Replaceability Harm Integrity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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