In or out? A philosopher’s guide to Brexit

How should we make decisions such as whether to vote to stay in Europe or not? I'm not an economist, I'm not an 'expert'. The best we can do is work out what our values are. Does the plight of other human beings generate moral obligations in us to share resources and provide safety? Are bigger unions important for progressing to think of ourselves as citizens of a world we inhabit together? Are smaller groups better? Do they have more autonomy? Is freedom more important than equality or are they dependent on each other? If we work out our values we can then try to match those with a vote that represents them. 

In a democracy we are given a chance to vote. But in this country we receive no guidance on how to engage in the process of deciding how to vote. What should a vote express? Is it what we like? Or what we think is right? Or what scares us most? We need the resources to think well which is about knowing what one's own ideas are, evaluating those ideas, assessing evidence and aligning ideas to policies and principles available. A good democracy should nourish these capacities and make voting more meaningful. 

Miriam Cohen is facilitating a free discussion hosted by The Philosophy Foundation on Friday 3 June at Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL.

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