Volume 11, 2007
Walter B. Gulick
A Brief Brief for Philosopher Kings and Queens
In what manner can philosophy best face world problems? I argue that philosophy's most important contribution to problem solving is not analysis and clarification but synoptic in nature. Relying upon the power of reflection and the scope of imagination as linked to a patient attempt to understand many disciplines, the philosopher ideally seeks to comprehend problems in their many-dimensioned complexity. The disciplines of ecology, evolution, and ethics are especially fruitful in guiding the philosopher seeking to assess the relative worth of things in their emergent inter-relationships. - In the body of the paper I attempt an outline of the outstanding human caused harms, injustices, and instabilities resulting in pain and suffering today. World philosophy today seems sufficiently pluralistic, comprehensive and free of unduly constraining orthodoxies that it can again play a significant role not only in conceptualizing problems but in articulating solutions. Broad visions comparable to Plato's as set forth in the Republic can again be ventured. We need to seek out ways to place into power a council of international philosopher kings and queens offering effective solutions beyond the dictates of partisanship and ideology. I conclude by suggesting five principles that international philosopher kings and queens might be expected to rely upon to bring about a more just global society.