Friday, April 27, 2007

Greatest Philosopher Contest

BBC Radio 4 ran a very interesting contest to see who should be granted the title "The Greatest Philosopher". 34 000 votes were cast and the list of candidates included a very impressive and diverse list of thinkers.

So who came in #1, with 28% of the vote?

Karl Marx. You can listen to the results on the contest web site (which has an interesting discussion of Marx).

I myself think Marx is one of the greatest philosophers of all time (see my thoughts here). Is he THE greatest? That is a more difficult question. No doubt our close temporal proximity to Marx might make us a bit more partial to him than some more distant historical greats. I would certainly put Marx in my top 5 list, but not at #1.

My list of the three greatest philosophers of all time (who all edge out Marx by a significant margin) consist of philosophers who all lived over 2000 years ago! All three made the BBC's top 10 list. And my overall #1 gives Marx a run for his money on the longest beard competition.

It's a real shame philosophy peaked such a long time ago. I guess some acts truly are too tough to follow.