Francis Hutcheson Institute (FHI): we are a think tank and policy advising group made up of academic, political and former security personnel who have come together to combine their knowledge and expertise to develop and deliver high quality and practically orientated expert analysis of contemporary conflict situations and related economic, political and social problems around the globe.
We specifically aim to recall the enlightened ideals of Francis Hutcheson in seeking to provide progressive, modern and liberal solutions to contemporary conflicts that take us forward, to leave the past behind and to seek new and future orientated policy formulations that address the root causes of conflict in a scientific and rational manner so that one can proceed to scientifically grounded and lasting resolutions that lay the foundations for stable and peaceful state, nation and society building.
Our work is conducted via regular conferences, workshops and seminars to help discuss and disseminate our ideas. In addition we conduct continuous and ongoing research of both a theoretical and practical nature, regular consultancy work for many clients, public and private, around the world, and, finally we engage in publications in both non-academic and academic journals and books and the general media. Our work is ongoing in Northern Ireland, in the Middle East and the Caucasus.
In seeking to assist in resolving conflicts we aim to bring together as wide a range of diverse skills and backgrounds as possible, to enable us to think broadly, creatively and positively and beyond the normal bounds of academia, security and politics. Thus we include politicians, academics and professional security personnel and anyone else who can contribute positively.
We also seek to recall and preserve the memory of Francis Hutcheson and his works, as one of the great founders of modern, enlightened thought and whose ideas have become part of the bedrock of all modern, open, liberal, democratic societies, such as the USA, France, the UK and most western style democracies. His ideas were seminal, but have often been overlooked and could now stand as a corrective to many of the world’s problems.
Best known today as the ‘Father of the Scottish Enlightenment’, Francis Hutcheson was born and raised in Co Down, Ulster, where he was educated in local Dissenting Academies before reading for his degree in Glasgow. After returning to Ulster and then Dublin as a Presbyterian Minister and Moral Philosopher, Francis Hutcheson became Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow University in 1730. There he became an important influence on David Hume and Adam Ferguson and inspired Adam Smith (whilst teaching Smith economics). His writing went on to influence most of the major philosophers of Europe, from Kant to Voltaire.
Of greatest significance is the Enlightenment tradition Hutcheson helped to formulate in the modern English speaking world, influencing the political ideals of liberal democracy and the rights of the individual behind both the American Revolution and the United Irishmen. His ideas were fundamental in the economic, social and political development of modern Britain and especially in influencing the development of utilitarian ideas, such as the greatest happiness to the greatest number. It is to both recall these Enlightenment ideals and to seek to apply them in relation to resolving contemporary social and political problems that the Frances Hutcheson Institute dedicates itself.