In relation to Ruth's previous post on the role of philosophy, it is interesting to see that Guy Damann writes in the Guardian today, when commenting on the UK general election, that when it comes to politics, philosophy and philosophers are best to leave well enough alone! After all, philosophers have tended to have a rather bad record when it comes to directly influencing rulers: Plato at Syracuse, Aristotle and Alexander, Foucault in Tehran, Heidegger and the Nazis to think of a few. Damann's point is that philosophy is founded on a suspension of action and is therefore, by definition ill-equipped for dealing with the cut and thrust reality of political life. He suggests that philosophy should retain a role as the Socratic 'gadfly.' I take this to mean that Damann thinks that philosophy's role should be to act as purely a form of critique, one that should challenge and remind rulers of the ideals that a society should be built on.
What do you think?