7.30pm for 8pm | 27 September 2007
Great Subscription Room, Brook’s, 60 St James’s Street

‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest’.
‘…by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this… led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.’
– Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

City Circle
‘Ever since its origin in antiquity, “philosophy” has meant “enquiry”… What is the nature of the world?…What exists, what does it consist of and how can we know either accurately?…Which of the things that exist and happen in the world really matter?…What is valuable, ethically and aesthetically, and how do we decide?’

‘Every generation has to re-examine the questions of how to organise itself and comport itself morally. The duty to reflect – to challenge assumptions, to remain vigilant against the forces that seek to erode the gains humankind makes in the direction of liberty and rights – is perennial.’
– AC Grayling

Anyone who has an enquiring mind is engages in philosophy. It is not an academic preserve. Founded in 1996, the Forum for European Philosophy is an educational charity which aims to foster interest in philosophy by promoting discussion of contemporary issues between academics and non-academics.

The Forum’s new initiative in establishing a City Circle recognises that something extraordinary has been happening in the City and its financial markets in recent years which deserve close study by practitioners and academics alike.

Confounding those who questioned whether the City could even retain its pre-eminence as the leading financial centre in the European time zone, London has emerged as the leading global financial centre. It is a dramatic success story. Unprecedented sums of money flow through London everyday. The directions in which this money flows and the price at which it flows have profound effects on billions of lives across the globe. Financial instruments have proliferated, bringing a rich variety of new opportunities for both owners and users of capital. Regulation is light. Financial services have become the mainstay of the UK economy. Enormous wealth has been created in both corporate and private hands. Elemental forces are at work for both good and ill. Animal spirits abound and humanity must compete for its place. Here is a great and fascinating crucible and the purpose of the City Circle is to provide an opportunity for practitioners and academics to look into it together.

The City Circle offers two programmes of discussion:

The first is an invitation-only programme of Evening Forums. Details of the autumn programme appear here. It is hoped that many of our invited guests will choose to become permanent members of the City Circle by becoming Patrons of the Forum for European Philosophy and contributing £10,000 or more to the Forum’s long-term endowment.

The second is a service for City firms who would like the Forum for European Philosophy to arrange and moderate Private Forums for their senior staff who would like to engage with academics in debating either general or directly relevant philosophical and ethical issues. Firms may choose their own subject and charges are by agreement.