Category Archives: Philosophy

Truth and love must overcome lies and hatred: The contemporary relevance of John Macmurray

Below is the introduction to an essay I’ve written about a Scottish mid-20th-century philosopher John Macmurray. Like my essay on Polanyi, this was partly a way for me to go through his work and set it down for myself. But … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics and public policy, Innovation, Philosophy, Public and Private Goods, Social Policy | Leave a comment

Pragmatic utilitarianism?

I have been a utilitarian for about 30 years now and am seen in my academic work as an extreme version of the genre. I did my Phd on the topic. I do not merely say that governments should make … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Critique, Dance, Death and taxes, Democracy, Economics and public policy, Ethics, Geeky Musings, History, Humour, Life, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Social, Social Policy, Society | 13 Comments

Book Launch of the Handbook for Wellbeing Policy-Making July 1st

Wellbeing & Policy Making Book Launch Event on 1st July 5-6.30pm London Time. Attending the Launch is Free, the book is not! [blurb from Nancy Hey, director of the WW Centre for Wellbeing]: The What Works Centre for Wellbeing, and our … Continue reading

Posted in Death and taxes, Democracy, Economics and public policy, Health, History, Life, Philosophy, Political theory, Politics - international, Politics - national, Public and Private Goods, Science, Social, Social Policy, Society, Theatre | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Traitor to the Cause: Some reflections looking back from John Burnheim

As I struggle with my ninety-fifth year, I would like to beg forgiveness from the true believers in sortition. Near forty years ago, in 1985, I published a book Is Democracy Possible? with the subtitle The Alternative to Parliamentary Democracy. … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Philosophy, Political theory, Sortition and citizens’ juries | Leave a comment

Surveillance capitalism is helping the disadvantaged: who knew?

Here’s some claims about recent research on fintech and AI. Berg, Burg, Gombovic, and Puri (2018) suggest that digital footprints can help boost financial inclusion, allowing unbanked consumers to have better access to finance. Similarly, Frost et al. (2019) show … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Critique, Economics and public policy, Gender, Philosophy, Political theory | 7 Comments

We are seven

Following a recent online conversation with Timothy Wilcox, I read Wordsworth’s extraordinary poem “We are seven” which I reproduce below. As you’ll see, it chimes with my own preoccupation with communication and mutual benefit across the chasm of difference. My … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Critique, Economics and public policy, History, Isegoria, Philosophy, Science | 2 Comments

Pyramids of lies: Some more from Stefan Zweig

I continue listening to Stefan Zweig’s description of the disasters of the twentieth century a passage of which I’ll reproduce below. My big essay on the Productivity Commission’s Draft Indigenous Evaluation Strategy represented a bit of intellectual progress for me. … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, History, Philosophy, Political theory | 13 Comments