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Vote Plato!

With the UK general election campaign underway Warwick Plato Expert Dr Angie Hobbs has had an idea for a very different sort of election.

Dr Hobbs writes on her blog that the philosopher Plato wouldn’t vote in such an election because he didn’t believe in the democratic systems of the Athens of his day and probably not the systems of democratic elections available today. He thought that the majority of people are characterized by their non-rational appetites (for food, drink, material possessions, money etc) and, without guidance, are ruled by those appetites. Instead, as he put forward in his famous Republic, we should be ruled by philosophers.

To highlight Plato’s views Dr Hobbs is asking people nominate one or more philosophers, past or present, for an alternative UK Cabinet. From today we are opening that vote to Warwick graduates world-wide. You can either just propose a philosopher or philosophers for a non specific post, or you can also say what post your candidate, or candidates, should have. Your proposals could be entirely serious e.g Hobbes for Home Secretary or they could be more mischievous e.g Zeno for Minister for Transport. The idea is both to have some fun and to consider whether any past or present philosophers might actually be/have been any good at such jobs.

If you want to take part in this bit of electoral philosophical fun, read Angie’s blog and then you post your nominations, votes or thoughts on Twitter and simply add the hashtag #voteplato to your tweet. If you do not use Twitter simply e-mail your vote to p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk and include the hashtag #voteplato in your email heading.

So far Mill and Spinoza are battling it out for PM and there is a close run vote for defence with Russell leading by just one vote ahead of Baudrillard who is in turn just one vote ahead of Hobbes. Edmund Burke and Machiavelli now tied in vote for Foreign Secretary. Hypatia is currently the only woman leading in a vote for a seat in this Cabinet of philosophers but can she hold her one vote lead for Minister of Science?

We will close our philosophical poll on the day before the UK election is held and declare the final results on the UK general election day on May 6th 2010.