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thywater's avatar

Should philosophers rule society?

Asked by thywater (97points) March 31st, 2019

“Plato believed that philosophers would be the best rulers of society because they’re able to understand true goodness and justice in a way that other people cannot.”

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16 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Depends on what philosophies they espouse…

SmartAZ's avatar

Have you ever actually hung out with philosophers? They can make up the most remarkable gobbledygook, and they get very ugly if you point out that they don’t make sense.

Philosophy was born in Akademos, a grove near Athens that was sacred to the goddess of wisdom. Membership was by invitation only. Members considered that they owned all knowledge, which they defined to be stuff they had made up by their own powers of reasoning. There was no particular effort to be right. Remember, they originated from a pagan goddess and personal invention, not anything to do with rightness.

The most famous philosopher was Aristotle. To this day his name is still a synonym for “arrogant jerk”.

And you want to let these dingbats make hoops for all the lesser mortals to jump through?

thywater's avatar

@SmartAZ What do you suggest?

LostInParadise's avatar

Philosophers have their heads in the clouds. They are not equipped to deal with day to day issues of power and economics. Politics has been called the art of the possible, and this is not an area where philosophers shine.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“they’re able to understand true goodness and justice in a way that other people cannot.”

Thus establishing early on that philosophers are full of shit.

flutherother's avatar

It was once said that the conclusions of ethics are the premises of politics but that, of course, was before the emergence of Trump.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The problem of course is that philosophers squabble among themselves every bit as much as we lay people. In fact those engaged in the sleazy business of politics flatter themselves in the belief that it is a noble profession of competing pholosophies, a tendency they share with lawyers. In many ways and based on percentages, for most of our history the 2 trades might be regarded as interchangeable with the ranks of politicians dominated by lawyers. So you’ve gotta ask yourself: “so how has that worked out for us?” Should all politicians be lawyers? As the current fool of a President compellingly illustrates, we might prefer politicians with some knowledge of the law and/our government (or in case of Dumbo, anything at all). But there are competent lawyers, and the other kind, and the ufortunate truth is that politics is far too often the fallback position for that “other kind” of lawyer. Philosophers (like lawyers) are supposedly rigorously trained in logic. But you have to ask yourself “how do you explain the logic in choosing a profession where you are all but guaranteed a lifetime of economic privation?”

kritiper's avatar

Hitler was somewhat of a philosopher…

stanleybmanly's avatar

All of us are

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@thywater You’re not going to get a nuanced discussion of Plato’s Republic on this site. There is a lot of good in the idea of rule by philosophers, but taken as a whole, the system in The Republic is not appropriate for the 21st century.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, philosophers would be awful.

They are not equipped to make decisions and act in a crisis. They are impractical in almost every way. They may emphasis on may be intelligent, or they may just be droll.

But philosophers would not make decisive, dynamic leaders.

gorillapaws's avatar

Sadly, many people have strong opinions on philosophy, and have never studied the subject and really have no idea what philosophy is or how it works. They base their opinions of Philosophers on fantasy/science fiction characters and depictions of ancient historical figures. People who study philosophy are trained in cutting through flawed logic and bullshit. Some of the coolest professors I’ve ever had were Philosophy professors, and the worst ones I’ve ever had were also Philosophy professors. They’re a mixed bag, but as a general rule they’re exceptionally smart and impossible to bullshit.

The biggest problem with a philosopher leader is that philosophers are committed to discovering the truth. Unfortunately politics has very little to do with honest, rational debate/discussion of the issues and everything to do with big money and being evasive on policy. Using loose, and deliberately imprecise language, misrepresenting your opponent’s position and other such tactics common in the political realm really do run completely opposite to how a philosopher approaches an argument.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Philosophers would be better at setting up an ethic committee where everyone has a chance to discuss different outcomes.
Because they are looking through things with a multi lens so to speak they would not be able to
make quick decisions, as Philosophers like to discuss.

SmartAZ's avatar

@thywater We are talking pagan religion versus alternatives. Any suggestion is grounds for a war. That is how pagan religions operate.

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