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10 Greatest Philosophers (sigh): Desert Island Question

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Jon Cogburn’s list in the comments section over at Perverse Egalitarianism  it seems has forced/spurred me onto my own list, as absurd as it may be, (but processes of organization are creative). It is a conflation of “greatest influence,”  upon me, but also as I read it, “greatest influence” upon the best solution for the pressing questions of our historical moment, a solution which must resonate down to the root/earth of the Western Philosophical tree. In a sense the list represents the authors from whom — if I was on a desert island and had to compose a philosophical theoretical perspective for our Age, and could be given the entire oeuvre of each — I would compose my island library; where there are two, I get two for the price of one. I include a small note on what seems the most germane contribution, though effects are radial.

1. Spinoza (parallel postulate under a register of power)

2. Plato (formulating the Orphic)

3. Augustine (Immanent Semiotics of truth)

4. Plotinus (Degree of Being transformation of Plato)

5. Davidson (Triangulation and Objectivity)

6. Guattari and Deleuze (Ontology of Affects)

7. Wittgenstein (Language Game)

8. Nietzsche (Ascent of Metaphor)

9. Sophocles (The Surpass of Tragedy)

10. Maturana and Varela (Operational Closure)

A large measure of this ranking can be seen as an after-image of an entire branch of thinking stemming from Descartes’ Central Clarity Consciousness  conception, which had its reverberations and mal-interpretations running through both the Continental and Analytic sides, a branch that is best left behind for now.

The actual numbers are only as they came to me without very much juggling. Tons of beautiful philosophers left off, some of my most favorite ones with whom I agree much more, and more inspire me, than some on the list…but that is the beauty of lists they force a composition, a constellation. Of course I would love to hear any of your own lists under something of the same criteria (or whatever).

(On another para-frivolous note, I would love to do a NCAA like bracket “playoff” of the 64 greatest philosophers, a competition/comparison which could have serious conceptual implications about truth and correction.)

Here a BBC Greatest Philosopher List

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7 responses to “10 Greatest Philosophers (sigh): Desert Island Question

  1. Eric August 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    “Tons of beautiful philosophers left off, some of my most favorite ones with whom I agree much more, and more inspire me, than some on the list…”

    Sorry, but I have to ask, who?

  2. kvond August 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    On the Personal side:

    Campanella, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Vico, Kierkegaard, Lao-Tzu, Sartre, St. Paul, Bateson, Benjamin, Stoicism, Jung, Berkeley, Foucault, Rorty, Bourdieu, Negri, Hartshorne (Cobb), Cixous, Blake, Butler, Kristeva, Luhmann, mostly these.

  3. Eric August 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    very interesting. thank you.

  4. Τέρπανδρος June 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    These are my top ten most influentials who would comprise the ultimate island library.

    1. U.G. Krishnamurti
    2. Max Stirner
    3. Γοργίας (“On Nature or the Non-Existent”, if a copy could be found)
    4. Michel Foucault
    5. Ἡράκλειτος
    6. Ἀντισθένης
    7. 老子
    8. Fried Rice Nietzsche (with supra-Asiatic eye)
    9. 臨済義玄
    10. Πύρρων

  5. Τέρπανδρος June 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    If we’re to include more unconventional thinkers, perhaps not commonly understood as philosophers, but who still provide huge insights into certain philosophical issues, I submit the following list:

    1. Kurt Gödel
    2. Werner Heisenberg
    3. Albert Einstein
    4. Franz Kafka
    5. Tristan Tzara
    6. Σοφοκλῆς
    7. Εὐριπίδης
    8. Charles Darwin
    9. Richard Dawkins
    10. Otto Gross

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