Category Philosophy

Justice Everywhere: coronavirus rundown and Rebecca Lowe interview

Just sharing a couple of pieces I’ve been working on for Justice Everywhere. The first is a collection I’ve edited of brief reflections from ten different philosophers on the ethical and political issues raised by the coronavirus crisis: What does coronavirus mean for the feasibility of social justice? What does coronavirus mean for the adoption […]

On football and creating your own value

I’ve written a piece for Liverpool.com, arguing that the possibility of the Premier League season being abandoned, and of Liverpool being robbed of a title they had all but sealed, highlights the inherent subjectivity of value. Liverpool fans, I suggest should define success and failure for themselves, regardless of the what the Premier League decides: […]

Beyond the ivory tower

In the last couple of weeks, over at Justice Everywhere, I’ve launched a series of interviews that I am editing, exploring the role of political philosophers in ‘real politics’. Here’s an excerpt from my introduction to the series: The purpose of Beyond the Ivory Tower is to speak to prominent philosophers that have, in different […]

The best New Year’s Resolution I ever made

Tonight, I intend to sit each one of you down, and tell you in my own words, exactly how much you mean to me – Frasier Crane, Frasier Series 5 Episode 9 (‘Perspectives on Christmas’) This year, I think for the first time, I made a proper New Year’s resolution and stuck to it. I […]

Private schools and freedom

Some Labour activists have called for the abolition of private schools. According to Chris Dillow: The case for not doing so is simple – freedom. My instinct is that folk should be free to spend their money how they want. I think this is correct, as far as it goes. But I don’t think the […]

Utilitarianism and anti-social preferences

I’ve been troubled this week by Arindrajit Dube’s anecdote about the Nobel-prize winning economist Gary Becker: In case you don’t speak economics, what this means is that Becker thought we can’t say that domestic violence is incontrovertibly a bad thing, because we need to consider the benefits to abusers against the harms to those who […]

Are multi-buy discount bans paternalistic?

In recent months, both the central UK Government at Westminster, and the Scottish Government have released strategic plans for addressing obesity. In both cases, among the measures being considered is a ban on multi-buy discounts for unhealthy foods and drinks, such as  confectionery, crisps, cakes and sugary sodas. This would outlaw price promotions that offer […]

VAR and Virtue

Rebecca Lowe has written a piece arguing against the introduction of video assistant referees (VAR – additional referees who monitor football matches on video, and intervene if they believe the lead referee has made an error) in this year’s World Cup. She claims that the reform undermines sportsmanship by reducing players’ freedom to choose not […]

On the ‘moral’ objection to a basic income: are humans ‘hard wired’ to work?

The Conservative MP Nick Boles generated some headlines before Christmas for his denunciation of a universal basic income: the increasingly fashionable proposal that all citizens should receive a fixed cash benefit from the government. His argument is fairly glib (I have to wonder if he genuinely believes he’s satisfactorily dealt with the issue in just […]

Bentham, rationalism and conservatism

I came across this piece by Rikk Hill on Jeremy Bentham today, and just wanted to repost it in full, alongside some of my own thoughts, because it’s excellent: I’d like to talk a little bit about moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham, and why he has a weird level of celebrity status among people who think […]