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 Philosophers as rulers?

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Virgo Vestalis Maxima

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PostSubject: Re: Philosophers as rulers?   Thu 15 Aug 2013, 09:11

I've been mulling over AR's comments. There are many trained philosophers who are nevertheless bad philosophers. Didn't Plato have Socrates expressing disapproval of the  sophists Euthydemus and Dionysodorus (hope I've spelled their names correctly)? A good philosopher cares for real wisdom and truth, not just for displaying cleverness in verbal combat.

We certainly train our politicians to be clever sophists, but does that make them lovers of wisdom?
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Virgo Vestalis Maxima

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PostSubject: Re: Philosophers as rulers?   Wed 21 Aug 2013, 10:05

@Priscilla wrote:

I draw no conclusions from this only perhaps to observe that of the two men the younger  one has a richer and happier life - the abysmal salary for what he does is not an issue either.
And not drawing conclusions is probably very wise, Priscilla.

I suppose if this is an empty and indifferent universe, as Camus thought, we just have to find our own way as best we can. I'm glad your young friend has found some degree of happiness in his chosen way. When all the talk, talk, talk is finished, it's all any of us can do. Perhaps, on more sensible reflection, that's what Camus' "being authentic" was all about, possibly much the same as the Buddhist injunction to "seek (work out) your own salvation with diligence", with the emphasis very much on *own*. Perhaps with honesty, too - Camus would add - not just diligence.  But it's a difficult and agonising business, all this diligently and/or honestly seeking malarkey (especially the honestly bit), and it never seems to end. I for one would be glad of a break. That boy who yearned for football was wiser than he knew.

I'm not so sure politicians - even those masters of the universe, the Oxford-trained philosopher types - have the time, let alone the inclination, for it all (whatever "all" is).

Anyway, it is necessary to cultivate my garden now, using the word "cultivate" very loosely. Them there Greeks should have had that there Sisyphus weeding an English garden, not rolling silly boulders about: it's far more frustrating - and futile.

PS English weeds, of course, are the best weeds in the world -  far weedier than any other weeds. Smile

EDIT: A new post - haven't read it, but will still send my edited version.

Last edited by Temperance on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 13:30; edited 2 times in total
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Nobiles Barbariæ

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PostSubject: Re: Philosophers as rulers?   Wed 21 Aug 2013, 13:18

Philosophers as rulers can be catastrophic enough, but I suppose the ones who are arguably the more dangerous are those behind the rulers. One of these, a man called Giovanni Gentile, taking Hegel's philosophy to new extremes, developed what he and his peers called "neo-Helegism" - outlined by a Wikipedia author in this manner:

Quote :
Reality was unthinkable, except in relation to the activity by means of which it becomes thinkable, positing that as a unity — held in the active subject and the discrete abstract phenomena that reality comprehends — wherein each phenomenon, when truly realised, was centered within that unity; therefore, it was innately spiritual, transcendent, and immanent to all possible things in contact with the unity. Gentile used that philosophic frame to systematize every item of interest that now was subject to the rule of absolute self-identification — thus rendering as correct every consequence of the hypothesis. The resultant philosophy can be interpreted as an idealist foundation for Legal Naturalism
"Legal Naturalism" of course was the basis of the political ideology later termed "fascism", and we all know where that got us.

A very non-philosophical man called Bruno Fanciullacci interrupted Gentile's no-doubt spiritual, transcendant and immanent thought processes when he shot and killed "The Philosopher of Fascism" in 1944. Ironically Gentile was on his way back from Florence at the time where he had been arguing the case at the Prefecture Court for the release of anti-fascist intellectuals who had been philosophically interned by Mussolini. Late in life he had apparently come to the realisation that fascism, despite having a "dialectical intelligence that surpassed intellectual scrutiny", was actually a pile of crap.
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PostSubject: Re: Philosophers as rulers?   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 00:30

@Meles meles wrote:
But where are the engineers? ... the people to continue the work of Watt, Newcommen, Parsons, Brunel, Ricardo, Stephenson, Bessemer, Whittle, and a host of others  .... ?

Sadly it seems engineers are no longer (or at least not for the past 50 years) particularly valued in Britain ... despite successive UK prime ministers lauding, in general terms,  the finance boosting achievements of native British,  petroleum engineering, satellite engineering, aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, recycling engineering, water management engineering ... etc... etc...

Hence the reason why I now run a B&B in France!

On a similar note it is often commented on that Margaret Thatcher was the first UK prime minister to hold a science degree. When she was first elected it might have seemed that a bridge had finally been found between Charles Percy Snow's Two Cultures (i.e. science and the humanities). Her victory in 1979 came 20 years to the week after his prescient talk but alas it proved to be a false dawn. With a nod to the current weather in the British Isles, following the Winter of Discontent the UK could have done with a good deal less Milton Friedman and a good deal more Snow.
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