“Wisdom denotes pursuing of the best ends by the best means”

Founded in Belfast, 2002, in memory of the moral philosopher Francis Hutcheson (1694 -1746) who, if remembered today, is best known as the ‘Father of the Scottish Enlightenment’, although he came from Ulster (Saintfield, Co. Down) and died in Dublin. Intellectually Hutcheson was a pillar of the Enlightenment, but emphasising the practical and applied aspects of it in political, economic and sociological terms,

Hutcheson’s arguments were for economic development by removing artificial constraints on trade and commerce, e.g. old medieval guild restrictions and state monopolies, to open up ‘free markets’ which all could entre on an equal basis.

Hutcheson thus presaged the civic society: tolerance based on excluding subjective (identity) matters from the public sphere, enabling equal entry and participation to all. Currently, Northern Ireland is following the polar opposite route and has institutionalised its religious divisions into a sectarian society, resulting in disconnected politics and continually failing institutions. The aim of the Institute is thus to recall Ulster’s own indigenous philosophical tradition to examine ways to develop a new politics in Northern Ireland and to overcome its severe sectarian divisions in a positive and progressive manner, one that has been found to work in the rest of the Western world.

The Francis Hutcheson Principles

Liberal Democracy


Civic Society


Latest News

Who Is Better Off, North or South In Ireland?

29 April 2021

Those who bear ill-will to the UK like to bad-mouth Northern Ireland and wrongly suggest that it has a feeble economy propped up by British subsidies. In fact, the NI economy is quite competitive and support for public services under the generous UK-wide arrangements means that the people of NI enjoy higher living standards than in the Irish Republic. The low standards of the Republic are surprising given that it is world’s largest tax haven

Loyalists Have Been Left Feeling Betrayed & Unrepresented

15 April 2021

All they see from their politicians and the peace and reconciliation bandwagon is lies, deceit and no sense of direction, let alone anyone to express ordinary unionist-loyalist interests, anger and frustrations.

Republicans use the Irish language as a weapon in their ‘long war’ strategy

10 February 2021

From the 1890s onwards there has been a Republican drive to infiltrate the Gaelic movement and hijack it for their own political purposes, diverting it from legitimate cultural and scholarly study.