PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, March 30, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Monarchy + News

Dear friends,
This Sunday we are discussing Monarchy. A rather apt topic for the Sunday before Easter week.
In the few words I prepared on the topic I argue that there is nothing special about monarchy from
other systems. However, what is more interesting is that politics seems to defy the Greek philosophy
of change: whilst we cannot step in the same river twice, it seems that politics is in constant
infinite flux, but we always step in the same mess.
In the mean:
Lawrence si puedes difundirlo entre tu grupo te lo agradezco
Hola amigos y perdón por el atrevimiento pero como las cosas no están muy bien pues por si podéis
ayudar a difundir este link de un apartamento que se me queda vació a fin de mes. Lo único que no
pone el anuncio es el precio son 770 eur aquí en mi barrio Chamartin.
We inevitably live in an inductive world for two basic reasons. The first is that events happen in a
causal way hence there is a correlation between cause and effect ,which are a series of physical
events over time.
The other reason why we live in an inductive world is that our knowledge of the world is also a
function of causality and time. We cannot have Information about an event until the event has
happened. And because we need information in a physical form, this implies that knowledge must
follow the restrictions imposed by the physical world.
The combination of these two factors in how our world functions, means that induction, and hence our
world had an inbuilt flaw of uncertainty.
There are two basic ways to avoid or mitigate uncertainty and the whims of inductive thinking. The
first is to avoid surprises and the other is to provide stability. The more we know about induction,
the more we can understand the mathematical implications of this thinking the more we can control
it; for example, by understanding long tails, or black swans.
Stability has always been a favourite for philosophers dating back to the Greeks, for example
Heraclitus and his ideas on flux, to Spinoza's equilibrium and of course Hume's induction argument
itself. Things that are stable tend to be predictable and prediction is a very valuable commodity
for human beings.
Monarchy is just another form of biological game for a group of people to survive in the world by
creating stability and predictability. The world of induction and unpredictability of future events
are very dangerous for humans.
The figure of the monarch creates stability by predicting the continuation of the leadership of
power. But this feature of a monarchy to create a stable leadership is not exclusive to monarchies.
Republics create stability by predicting the regularity of elections. This basic principle for the
need of leadership it seems is independent of any concept of morality, justice and efficiency. It
seems that a human society requires a head or a leader.
What is not clear is what purpose does this need for a head or leader have. Are leaders there for
the benefit of the people or the leader or his or her circle of influence?
The most important philosophical shift that goes some way at answering this –purpose- question is
the demise of the doctrine of divine right of kings. Which basically states that the authority of
the king is derived directly from god and that the king is not answerable to any earthly authority.
The English civil war, and later the French revolution and the various constitutions and liberalism
of the 19th century, all shifted power and authority from the monarch to the people. Sovereignty was
made to reside in the people.
In terms of successful monarchies, today many monarchies are constitutional monarchies. Meaning,
they are established by a consituion and power more or less resides in parliament. There are still
absolute monarchies but, quite telling, they are in power by involking some form of divine right of
kings: eg by linking religion with power.
Going back to the theme of stability, there is no doubt that this is a very desirable characteristic
of society, but it seems that stability within a society can only be achieved through an equitable
exercise of power and authority.
In this respect, I would argue that whether a society is headed by a monarch or a president is
irrelevant on the one had and on the other I see no philosophical difference between the two. One
system is not better than the other in terms of justice, fairness and stability.
However, what matters to a society is the exercise of power and authority. How to the leaders
exercise their power and for whose benefit? But the exercise of power can only be for the benefit of
the people if and only if those who have power are also held accountable for their actions.
And it seems that accountability is not a high profile feature is all forms of leaderships. So in
this respect, very little has changed from the doctrine of the divine right of kings. At face value
it seems that the need for the god figure in the divine right of kings, was simply an excuse to
govern with impunity. But the people's sovereignty has not resulted in better accountability of
those in power.
The bottom line is that the political game we play (monarchy, republic or what ever) does not itself
create a strong sense of accountability, but this does not mean that some leaders, maybe out of good
grace, do not act fairly and justly.

Miguel has asked me to share the link with you for his latest Album: YOU


regular messages from friends below
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao

Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:,+España&cid=168580715753984644
Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Monarchy + News

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