Justice!

First political philosophy meetup!

At the first meetup, I'll introduce the topic of political philosophy and the intended meetup schedule for the first few sessions. At completion of the course, we should all have a clearer framework of thinking through many moral and other, modern-day issues.

I'm intending on following the outline of the Justice course in political philosophy taught by Michael Sandel at Harvard University.

The lectures from this course can be viewed here:
http://www.justiceharvard.org/watch/

In the first session we will discuss Utilitarianism. This is the idea that the right thing to do is always that which will produce the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.

Is this always right though?

For reading - Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart-Mill are the main classical Utilitarian thinkers.

Episodes 1 and 2 of the Justice series are also very informative and entertaining.

We will of course all have the opportunity to discuss and socialise in groups on the day.

I haven’t set a date/location for this Meetup yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you all know

Hope to see you there!

Join or login to comment.

  • Alexandra W.

    Too hot ! But nice intelligent group.Certainly worth going to.

    May 26, 2013

  • Alexandra W.

    Many thanks James for organising the evening on " Justice" I found it both stimulating and enjoyable .

    May 22, 2013

  • Nuala w.

    Thanks James, what a great start to our exploration of Justice, valued everyone's contributions , see you next time

    May 22, 2013

  • Naveed

    Yes, well done James, Look forward to the next one, will try to make it!

    May 22, 2013

  • Di

    This was amazing. Thanks James for great organisation. Thanks all for honest heartfelt contributions. I'm still smiling hours after it's ended!

    May 22, 2013

  • Philip

    That was outstanding. I feel vey rewarded, although my own personal gain is of no importance here. It is the common good of the group.

    1 · May 21, 2013

  • Naveed

    Just upstairs in the corner join us :-)

    May 21, 2013

  • Philip

    I'll be there, as I only had 4 hours sleep, so go easy on me please.
    :-)

    May 21, 2013

  • M

    sorry - looks like I'll be held up at work.

    May 21, 2013

  • Caroline

    Really sorry James, just realised I double booked :-(

    May 20, 2013

  • Alexandra W.

    I cannot get away from the notion of an individuals theory based on his own idealistic thought being taken up somewhat universally in the form of utilitarianism.Assuming that creativity and perception of beauty do not play a part in producing happiness for the majority.

    May 20, 2013

    • Michael F.

      Two brief points really; the first is that Bentham's formulation of the utilitarian principle is based purely on the hedonistic concept of pleasure. Mill tried to formulate a more rounded version of what he believed happiness was but in doing so was forced to abandon the central tenet of utilitarianism.

      May 20, 2013

    • Michael F.

      nor can you take the view that the 'happiness' - still less the pleasure - of an individual because it is seen as a 'good' to him or her is therefore 'a good to society.' Trying to 'add up' pleasure in this way is the same type of logical fallacy as if one said that because the average height of a particular football team was 6 feet that therefore the team as a whole was 66 feet tall! it is an elementary logical fallacy and it's surprising that men of the intelligence of Bentham and Mill failed to see it.

      May 20, 2013

  • Ainsley

    Really sorry for the last minute cancellation. It appears I may be working late again tomorrow and I'd rather free a space than be a no show.

    May 20, 2013

  • Alexandra W.

    I feel the need to question whether those that have the "ideal" most are necessarily the happiest ?

    May 17, 2013

    • Philip

      Hmm .. I suppose that depends on whether one values intellect or happiness more. Personally, I see intellect as a means to an end, a mere tool, if you like. It is a tool with which to get happiness, which I consider a higher commodity. And I come across beings of low intellect whom I often envy for their ignorant bliss. But I can understand why Mill, at that time, could have had different values and a different life experience to me.

      May 19, 2013

    • Di

      I personally think that happiness and idealism are mutually exclusive, because the ideal can never be attained. Also intellect and happiness do not go very well together. I agree with Philip above- the happiest people I know are usually for want of a better word, the most ignorant or perhaps to be kinder, the intentionally ignorant.

      May 20, 2013

  • Bill T.

    Cannot make it so I am freeing up a place.

    May 19, 2013

  • Alexandra W.

    I have sent an answer to both Michael and Philip but pressed the wrong button!!

    May 18, 2013

  • David C.

    Hi, With regards to Utilitarianism. Then as there are more people in or near poverty in the world, and more people who have not had the opportunity to either have an education or opportunity to earn, then everyone person in the world should have education, the opportunity to earn and possibly all monies from everyone should be shared out equally, despite what each individual person may earn. Would not all this be the right thing to do which will produce the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people..
    Probably not 'doable' for many reason, but is that not an 'ideal'.
    I possibly label myself as a capitalist socialist (or is that a socialist capitalist).

    April 25, 2013

    • Michael F.

      True; but as Oscar Wilde said money may not make you happy but at least it enables you to be miserable in comfort!

      May 9, 2013

    • Michael F.

      Nor do I agree that the way to make people happy is to spread misery equally. i think that socialism, like capitalism, is outdated and fundamentally misconceived and ultimately immoral!

      May 9, 2013

  • Sandro

    I definitely want to attend but I have to check my commitments with work. The place really suits me. Hope to see you all.

    May 9, 2013

  • Jack S.

    Moving home just before then.

    April 30, 2013

  • terence f.

    Sadly the day now selected clashes with another meeting already accepted.

    April 29, 2013

  • Michael F.

    I'm glad we've now got a venue and a date. I can make it then and look forward to seeing other new faces there. Who knows, there may even be other people I know already? (Philosophy in London is a relatively small circle of people!)

    April 29, 2013

  • Nuala w.

    Hi James , I will be away the week of the 27 th of May . Utilitarianism is a great place to start , I agree with Michaels comment ,defining happiness is problematic , also the underlying argument suggests that group or collective experience trumps the individual needs?
    I look forward to hearing more re dates

    April 26, 2013

  • terence f.

    but depends on long notice of date assuming location in London

    April 24, 2013

    • Michael F.

      That works for me, James. Thanks for the headsup!

      April 25, 2013

    • terence f.

      Thank you for the approx date. I tend to book 4 weeks aheadl

      April 26, 2013

  • Jonathan G.

    Looking forward to it!

    April 25, 2013

  • Michael F.

    Sounds very interesting; I am familiar with both thinkers and IMO both of them have fascinating and valid insights and curious blind spots! But then if we all agreed we wouldn't need philosophy!

    April 24, 2013

  • Michael F.

    I'm away on holiday between 30 April and 8 May but after that I'm free!

    April 24, 2013

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Henry

I decided to start Reno Motorcycle Riders Group because I wanted to be part of a group of people who enjoyed my passion... I was excited and nervous. Our group has grown by leaps and bounds. I never thought it would be this big.

Henry, started Reno Motorcycle Riders

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy