Category Philosophy

Why calling out ‘post-truth’ might be a bad idea

Of all the habits I developed in five years studying philosophy, internalising the principle of charity is among the most important. Few other ideas are as valuable and relevant outside the seminar room. The principle is simple: when considering an argument, we should try to construct it in its strongest and most persuasive form. Indeed, […]

What should voters look for in their politicians?

Amidst the political chaos of the past few months, some have taken the opportunity to reflect on what it all means for democracy. In particular, the question of whether individual Members of Parliament are bound to permit Britain’s exit from the European Union because their voters supported it has led to a number of reflections […]

Thatcher was right, there’s no such thing as society – but that doesn’t mean abandoning individuals to their fate

Will Haydock has written a stimulating post about culture, individualism and alcohol policy. He asks whether there is any point discussing drinking ‘cultures’ in an individualistic neoliberal political environment. He spends a bit of time reflecting on the notorious Margaret Thatcher remark that exemplifies this sentiment, the claim that “There is no such thing as […]

Effective Altruist New Year’s Resolutions

Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you, –will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others, –or to diminish something of their pains. – Jeremy Bentham If I had to sum up the central idea of Effective […]

Open borders are not undemocratic, but maybe they should be

There is a vital difference between the appropriate procedure for making a decision and the substance of that decision. Yet this distinction is often overlooked. Suppose we are deciding what type of pizza to get for dinner. You might say, ‘we should put it to a vote’. That is your opinion on the best procedure, […]

Does Effective Altruism entail Socialism?

Julian Baggini raises an interesting question in his recent interview with Peter Singer on Effective Altruism: namely, what would an Effective Altruist economy look like? Baggini suggests that if most or all people became effective altruists, the result would economically ruinous, and therefore counterproductive: Then there is the argument that giving up all our relative […]

What Effective Altruists need to answer: how much good is enough?

The growing movement of Effective Altruism has received a spike in attention in recent months with the publication of two long-awaited books on the subject, Peter Singer’s The Most Good You Can Do, and William MacAskill’s Doing Good Better. Both have prompted critical responses, typically rehashing the objections that EAs (Effective Altruists) have heard time […]