Staff Top 10
Top Ten Favorite Philosophers

By: Ian Mathers

Posted 05/07/2004 - 07:40:57 AM by MacGee:
 Holy Lack Of Empiricists, Batman!
Posted 05/07/2004 - 12:50:56 PM by IanMathers:
 The empiricists are boring. I did, however, forget Kierkegaard.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 01:36:13 PM by Baloon:
 Arguably, Aristotle was an Empiricist.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 02:47:35 PM by IanMathers:
 Having just re-read this, I take full credit for calling Sartre a great "intellectual thinker". Ouch.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 03:17:33 PM by NickSouthall:
 The Heidegger hate is still most disconcerting.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 03:29:30 PM by clockoouut:
 Where is Derrida?
Posted 05/07/2004 - 03:32:39 PM by IanMathers:
 Up his own arse.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 03:38:56 PM by IanMathers:
 Heidegger had a few clever insights circa "Being & Time", but misprioritized them, called them ontology, and promptly started writing utter shit. He also greviously distorted the common view of Gadamer, phenomenology and a bunch of other things. I'm not saying we shouldn't read the man - I'm just saying he was very, very damaging.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 06:32:41 PM by MacGee:
 If Hume`s `Enquiry` is boring then I`m a boring bastard. Or all Cretans are liers.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 07:41:20 PM by IanMathers:
 Hume's not bad. Definitely my favorite of the empiricists (and one of the few to show traces of a sense of humour). But that doesn't make him top ten material.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 11:40:16 PM by clockoouut:
 touche, Mr. Salesman.
Posted 05/08/2004 - 03:29:55 AM by IanMathers:
 You did kind of leave yourself wide open there, clockoouut.
Posted 05/08/2004 - 07:10:05 AM by yoshi4:
 Sorry, but its a typical university style list.... no mention of any non-western philosophers- I'd advise you to read Al-Ghazzali before making a list, one of the most important names in Philosophy, and as usual, ignored in the canon of "great philosophers" because he was a Muslim - hohoho, how funny that is. Also, what about Adam Smith? I'm feelin' adam smith, he got skills too, peace, Yoshi
Posted 05/08/2004 - 03:22:08 PM by IanMathers:
 Of course it's a university style list - I'm a university student. I've read bits of Alfarabi, Avicenna, Algazali and Averroes (to use their Westernized names) and I do like them all, particularly Algazali (did a paper on his "The Incoherence of the Philosophers" that was really fun to write), but I haven't had access to enough of his stuff (it being, last time I checked, mostly untranslated) for him to go on the list. If you think about it, on the one hand I did try to specify Western thought or Western philosophy in these descriptions (I don't claim to have read everything), and also of course any mention of Aristotle is a tribute to Islamic thought, because without them we wouldn't have any Aristotle to read. And of course when you go further East it's harder to name individual thinkers because poetry and religion have even more overlap with philosophy there than they do here. Take Basho for example. I thought about Confucious, but he didn't make the cut. Adam Smith was a decent philosopher, but nothing special. It was, of course, as a economist that he made his mark. Again, not top ten material. You did notice it says "Favorite" and not "Best" or "Most Important", right?
Posted 05/08/2004 - 03:27:29 PM by IanMathers:
 Upon re-reading, the last bit of my last post sounds snarky. Let me clarify: I deliberately didn't call this something like "Top Ten Most Important Philosophers", because I don't actually think if you were trying to put that list together you could include Ingarden (who, much as I love him, is widely unread) and leave out for example Plato. So agreed, any really comprehensive list would have, for example, some analytic guys (at least Wittgenstein), some non-Westerners, etc. But I wasn't trying to make that kind of list.
Posted 05/10/2004 - 11:34:50 AM by dan_the_van:
 I'm intrigued by one of your comments. I know very little indeed about philosophy, but i'm interested to learn. That's why i'm curious to know why you rate Descartes as one of the most damaging Western philosophers ever - what did the man do that was so bad? Also, is this just your opinion, a minority view of philosophy academics, or a widely-held conviction? I'd appreciate your comments.
Posted 05/10/2004 - 01:19:11 PM by IanMathers:
 As far as I know, Dan, I'm in the minority. And as for why... let's just say that in early June I'll be doing the list of my least favorites, and I'll get into it there.
Posted 05/11/2004 - 08:09:45 AM by deadbody:
 skip the philosophy bullshit and just pick up a science book.
Posted 05/11/2004 - 09:25:36 AM by yoshi4:
 Ian, you're right about Aristotle actually, i forgot about that! I'm a uni student too. If I may reccomend something that definitely makes a good read (you may have read cos its translated) by Al-ghazzali , that is "The Alchemy of Happiness" its translated by Claud Field, published by Octagon. Check it out for a laugh, well worth the read and as clear a read as you'll find, yet undeniably brilliant in its simplicity :) peace, Yoshi.
Posted 05/11/2004 - 10:28:03 PM by chetbet:
 I have a thing for Descartes (I'm sorry, but I love Meditations) and Boethius, but I can understand their exclusion. Personally, I hate Nietzsche and find his writings to be too full of shit to take seriously, but I suppose I'm in the minority on that one. However, I have to give major props to the inclusion of Anselm. YES.
Posted 05/12/2004 - 11:20:08 PM by IanMathers:
 Thanks for the tip, Yoshi, that's one I've neither read nor heard of. I'd better try to track it down.
Posted 06/09/2004 - 09:52:41 AM by shudder:
 Where the heck is the analytical philosophy? Not a single one? If you don't like empiricists, how bout a little Quine? If you don't mind my asking, what school are you at (in Canada, I assume, since you mention Chapters)? Just curious...
Posted 06/10/2004 - 02:13:49 AM by IanMathers:
 I don't mind Quine, but he's not even close to the top 10; most analytic philosophy leaves me cold, but even the stuff I enjoy doesn't resonate with me the way good continental philosophy does. That said, I like some G.E. Moore and Kripke's "Naming And Necessity" a fair bit. And as for my school... that's what staff profiles are for. Click on my name at the end of the article.
Posted 07/03/2004 - 01:31:18 AM by erikmc:
 You might like Konrad Fiedler's writings on art.
Posted 11/01/2004 - 11:12:23 PM by IanMathers:
 Holy shit, I just noticed now that whenever I say "Gadamer" in the entry on Ingarden or in the comments above I mean "Husserl". Jesus. How did that happen?
Posted 12/26/2005 - 04:08:55 PM by Cameron:
 I majored in Continental Philosophy, and it's worth mentioning that Ingarden is basically worthless, and that Heidegger refuted existentialism and used Being and Nothingness as a coaster for his coffee cups. And i'm curious ... why top ten philosophers on stylus? and ... empiricists are boring? how do you then justify the heavy emphasis on phenomenology through Ingarden and Sartre? and the French Continental reliance upon empiricism represented by Merleau-Ponty? EMPIRICISM RULES BECAUSE IT LEADS TO PRAGMATISM. not like James, but like post-68s Frenchies! as Henri Bergson would have said ... empiricism is simply a poorly stated question, but the tension that it aims to ease is better framed in other ways. but ... EMPIRICISM RULES. haha. ps. who cares what i think? not me. just wanted to type something because an article on philosophy in a music magazine is ridiculous and fun. while its presence here makes no sense to me, it does make me smile.