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Should All Politicians Be Utilitarians?

John Pugh will give us a guide to utilitarianism in its various forms

Much is made of the collapse of ideology in modern politics. So what guides policy if not an overarching idea? Evidence Based Policy focusses on the success of certain measures taken to achieve specific outcomes, but why should government be interested in these outcomes in the first place?

A philosophy which first became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, Utilitarianism purports to provide a rational basis for moral action, both at an individual and a societal level. Perhaps Government ministers need only remember Bentham’s maxim, “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” But how can we decide what is good? Or what makes us happy? And is there a rational way for policy to achieve good and happy outcomes?

John Pugh will give us a guide to utilitarianism in its various forms and lead our conversation. John Pugh is MP for Southport and Liberal Democrat treasury spokesperson. He studied Philosophy at Durham and has had a rich and varied career, including working as a school teacher and local councillor.


Mr John Pugh | talks


Date and Time:

27 October 2009 at 8:00 pm


3 hours



The Wheatsheaf
25 Rathbone Place

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Organised by:

Big Ideas
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Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.bigi.org.uk

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