How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time

An invitation has arrived to hear Iain King talk about his latest book, which has the arresting title I’ve nicked to head up this posting.

It may sound like an airport bookshop management tome, but it’s actually about the much more challenging and interesting subject of ethics.

Iain sets out his help principle, that you should help someone if your help is worth more to them than it is to you. It’s a simple and appealing principle that covers everything from the unselfish good manners advocated by Philip Howard, to the personal giving that many faiths advocate, to the massive redistribution called for by campaigns like Make Poverty History or End Child Poverty.

Iain is a humanist who argues that religion is – put kindly – an optional extra. His help principle leaves out the kind of sacrificial giving that can define both secular and spiritual heroes. But his basic case for kindness, for sharing, for a generosity with resources and of spirit, is one that strikes a chord with me as a Christian. In my faith, the command to love (caritas, charity or loving kindness), is the highest commandment. And if we all adopted it, the world would be a better place.

I can’t make the talk, but if you can, it should be a good evening.

1 Comment »

  1. bereft said

    I did make this, Iain’s an old friend and yes, it was a good evening.

    It’s an ambitious project he has undertaken and he’s done well enough to get people thinking about the subject; I’d expect this to crop up on more and more undergrad reading lists – I would have welcomed it when I was a philosophy student, it’s less dense and stodgy than a lot of the standard texts (more in the Problems of Philosophy line if that’s not flattering him too much).

    It’s certainly a change to have someone writing on this subject who has had a lot of real-world experience of moral dilemmas – Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan must have provided a sterner test of ethical standards than the Bodleian or the British Library.

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