Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Greatest Philosopher of Our Time

The BBC's fascinating series of running commentary, "In Our Time", proposed to the general listening public a poll which would capture our thoughts (and votes) concerning "The Greatest Philosopher of Our Time". From a pre-selected list of 20 philosophers--Aquinas (hear that, Ill?) to Wittgenstein--the public doth selected every angsty middle schooler's favorite iconoclast--Karl Marx. Although the good ship BBC doesn't tell us how many people voted, they do give a breakdown of the top ten:
  1. Karl Marx, 27.93%
  2. David Hume, 12.67%
  3. Ludwig Wittgenstein, 6.80%
  4. Friedrich Nietzsche, 6.49%
  5. Plato, 5.65%
  6. Immanuel Kant, 5.61%
  7. St. Thomas, 4.83%
  8. Socrates, 4.82%
  9. Aristotle, 4.52%
  10. Karl Popper, 4.20%
Aside from being an absolutely meaningless poll, it probably sheds at least a little light onto who we read and recognize from our school days. Except for Marx who I believe benefits from pop culture mythology. That's why he won, right? Who's with me?

3 comments:

Ilya said...

It's a BRITISH poll. Of course Marx and Hume are at the top!

BeingHuman said...

I can't help but wonder what such a poll would look like if conducted in America. I fear that many could not think of any philosophers or most would simply say Jesus as Bush did in a debate in the 2000 election. Of course when asked why, he had no substantive explanation.

Essentially, for me, this poll raises a concern in my mind about the state of our educational system, particularly in light of the current trial over teaching "intelligent design" in public schools.

To our schools prepare us to think critically?

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Of course they don't. It is one of the things we have in common with our european brethren. We have those on the right craftily trying to teach creationism and those on the left trying to substitute emotion for reason. Well maybe not so much in common, but that doesn't mean that they aren't a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys.