Welcome to my website and my blog.  I am James Aitchison and you can contact me by email at [email protected]

My Interests

What Should We Do?

I was a teenager when the question ‘What Should We Do?’ first struck me with its force.  The question seemed broad and important, yet rarely directly addressed.  There seemed to be great potential to use reason to make better personal and political choices. 

Books and Ideas

I haven’t grown out of my teenage view and have been reading and thinking on a quest to better understand practical reason.  This website is to share some of the valuable books, podcasts and other materials I have found and to set out some of my own thoughts.

Three Questions

My interest in practical reason concerns  three questions.  The first is ‘What Is The Nature of Practical Reason?‘ and my broad answer is that it concerns human judgements about how to achieve ends that matter.  The second is ‘What Should We Generally Be Aiming At?’ and my answer is that aggregate happiness is of ultimate value but not always a guide for action.  The third is ‘What Should Humanity’s Priorities Be?‘ and my answer, following Effective Altruism,  is that these include the long-term future, global poverty and animal welfare.

Other Interests

Besides practical reason, my website and blog also reflects other interests in philosophy, psychology, science, history, economics and current affairs. 

James Aitchison Photo

Latest Blog Post

Favourite Blog Post

Practical Reason First

I argue that the starting point for considering ethics should be practical reason broadly rather than morality. Practical reason covers the full range of practical questions and reflects a basic human function. It provides a neutral starting point and makes clear the full subject area of ethics and the landscape of issues. It removes the metaphysical bewilderment and the doubts that have arisen from the focus on morality. Above all, it clears away confusions and allows a straightforward focus on the ever more important task of making better choices about what to do.

Read More »

This Site

See About  for my biography and  Blog for my most recent posts.  The Blog has a mixture of my own writings and my notes on some favourite books. 

There are separate pages with summaries of some of my Ideas – on Practical ReasonUtilitarianism and Effective Altruism.

There are further pages with lists of My Writing, lists of my Book Notes, lists of my favourite Podcasts and with assorted useful Links

My aim with the website is to set out my ideas and to share books and resources that I recommend.