May 10, 2010

Cabinet of Philosopher–Rulers: Final Results of Vote #voteplato

So, this is what the Cabinet of Philosopher-Rulers looks like now that all the votes have come in.  As you can see, the list proves that, in philosophy, seriousness and a sense of fun can happily co-exist.  You will also see that I decide to be inclusive re. who can count as a philosopher.  Most of the philosophers who won Cabinet places also received nominations for other posts:

Prime Minister: J.S.Mill easily beat off Spinoza.

Home Secretary: Hume clinched it over Voltaire and Hobbes

Chancellor: Aristotle narrowly defeated Marx 

Foreign Secretary: de Beauvoir fended off Burke and Machiavelli

Defence: Russell (the dove beat off hawk and military theorist von Clausewitz)

Education: Socrates romped home on this one. Rosa Luxembourg was his nearest rival

Arts and Culture: Zizek (the only living philosopher to make the Cabinet)

Industry: Adam Smith narrowly defeated Marx

Work and Pensions: Marx finally made it here

Science: Hypatia defeated David Armstrong

Attorney General: Rawls beat off Locke and Foucault

Health: Nietzsche edged out Heraclitus.  Interesting choice ...

Sport: Camus' footballing prowess gained him victory here

Agriculture: Aquinas

Environment: forest fan Heidegger

Chief Whip: Wittgenstein -  perhaps as a result of alleged poker-wielding confrontation with Popper?

Transport: Zeno.  Of course.

Women's Affairs: Kant - who would, I am sure, be delighted at the news. 

Housing: barrell-dwelling Diogenes

Minister for the Cabinet Office: de Tocqueville 

Scotland: Cicero.  Gosh - but perhaps voters were mischievously thinking of Scottish singer David Cicero

Northern Ireland: Francis Hutcheson

Wales: Sir Henry Jones

Hobbes received a number of nominations for 5 different posts, but didn't win a Cabinet place.  Baudrillard, Popper, Burke, Nussbaum and Frank were also unlucky to lose out.

117 different philosophers received nominations, including 25 living philosophers. 18 women were nominated.

So what do you think?  Would this Cabinet do any better than our current political masters (still Labour as I write this, though who knows who will be in charge tomorrow?)

And finally - many thanks to all of you who voted and discussed - I have really enjoyed all your contributions and they have made for a rich and intriguing debate.


- 3 comments by 0 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Richard Baron

    This bunch would do pretty well until they had to work together or, worse, accept collective responsibility. The first eight on the list, down as far as Smith, might be able to tolerate one another, but Smith would not get on with Marx, Nietzsche would be Nietzsche, Heidegger would tell everyone at length what Nietzsche should be taken to have meant, Wittgenstein would tell ministers that their white papers were not ready to publish, and Cicero would lead the prosecution of any minister who could reasonably be suspected of plotting (which would mean all of them).

    10 May 2010, 22:05

  2. Chris Bateman

    Hilarious though this would be, I suspect it would break down rather rapidly! Kant’s commitments to communal autonomy not withstanding, I don’t see much hope for this bunch working together for more than a few weeks.

    For a start, with socially disturbed introvert Wicky as Chief Whip nothing would get done (I like the sound of this, however!). Fortunately, Russell won’t have much to do in the role of Defence so Wittgenstein can spend his nights pacing around the Defence Office thinking about “his sins”... :)

    Mill as Prime Minister is going to suffer just as badly as the practicalities rapidly run roughshod over the niceties of the Harm Principle. Honestly, there’s enough means-end justification in politics as it is without a Utilitarian in charge! Plus, Nietzsche for health? And the countryside will be tarmacked over before Heidegger could plausibly finish drafting a white paper. I’d better get ready to emigrate… ;)

    On the plus side, go Hypatia! I would like to see what a science policy would be like under her auspices, although I suspect she’d quit in frustration before a month was out. And Rawls would be great as attorney general if people can persuade him to avoid getting mired down in issues of wealth redistribution. I see bitter disputes with Marx in the corridors of power…

    Anyway, I really should be working…

    All the best!

    12 May 2010, 10:59

  3. Teresa Mackinnon

    with Camus as Minister for Sport we may not win the World cup but we would enjoy the physicality and live in the moment :)

    14 May 2010, 21:15


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