Category Philosophy

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 […]

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 […]