The Most Influential Philosopher of the 20th Century?

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
#1
Who do you find to be the most influential philosopher of the 20th century?

Here's a few that should get consideration.

-Ludwig Wittgenstein
-Bertrand Russell
-Martin Heidegger

Thoughts and explanations.
 

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
#2
That's a tough call. I think the 3 folks you named are no doubt the most influential within philosophy, with Russell and Wittgenstein kicking off what we think of as the analytic tradition, and Heidegger being hugely influential within the continental tradition. If I had to choose just 1, though, it would be Russell.

Russell's work in logic, and his ultimately futile attempt to root mathematics in a logical system, may not be overly titillating; but his popular work, and his general temperament and approach to philosophy seemed to be hugely influential. While every philosopher today may be working in the shadow of Wittgenstein, they've all adopted something of Russell, it seems (within analytic philosophy).

Even Wittgenstein was for a spell thought of as a disciple of Russell, although the two had a falling out, and Wittgenstein proved perhaps to be the stronger thinker and produce more influential philosophical notions (however difficult to articulate), thereby surpassing Russell in many ways.

Still, who tries to emulate Wittgenstein today, and how many have read and understood his works as compared to Russell's popular work The History of Western Philosophy; which most bookstores still keep constantly in stock? Furthermore, Russell was outspoken during his life on the political issues of the day, whereas Wittgenstein was not.

I'll also say that I think Sartre, Rorty, Rawls, Popper, Moore, Derrida, and Camus; deserve special mentions for their influence within and outside of philosophy.
 
Last edited:

konboye

Registered Member
#4
This thread would be a very interesting thread if this generation of people cared much for philosopher than Facebook. Philosopher are mostly nation specific these days except you are talking about the Socrates, Tolstoys, Confucius... because for example I know I have heard of CS Lewis but just can't remember what he did and what he wrote about. Maybe I am just not that studious or bookish.
 

JaneSmith

Registered Member
#5
CS Lewis loved his mommy and never found a stronger love until she dies and he finally married a woman at age 65 or something like that. The guy had issues.

I consider Freud the most influential philosopher. He took the realistic biological approach to the ego, id, and super ego that is responsible for all our philosophical thought and made it logical rather than mystical bs.

Socrates never existed. But we needed the wise sage to guide us into the future when dealing with our ego, id, and super ego so the Greeks made a character to help us. How kind of them. Talk about the origin of creative thinking! Those Greeks were brilliant.
 

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
#6
Socrates never existed.
Why do you think that? The first account of Socrates was from the satirical play "The Clouds" by Aristophanes, which sends up Socrates as an amoral sophist who mocked the gods and taught young people to avoid debts with trickery. It would seem strange that the soldier and historian Xenophon would later use that character as a mouthpiece for practical wisdom in his dialogs, and for Plato to portray Socrates as a philosopher who opposed sophistry in his own dialogs. Both Plato and Xenophon claimed to have known Socrates, and Aristophanes was a contemporary of the man. There's no doubt that the accounts of Socrates are all somewhat fictionalized, but I also don't see any reason to suspect Socrates was entirely fictional, and the first known account of him portrayed him as a bumbling buffoon as opposed to a wise sage; so you can't really say he was a character invented for the purpose of representing as much.
 
Last edited:

Wade8813

Registered Member
#7
CS Lewis loved his mommy and never found a stronger love until she dies and he finally married a woman at age 65 or something like that. The guy had issues.

I consider Freud the most influential philosopher. He took the realistic biological approach to the ego, id, and super ego that is responsible for all our philosophical thought and made it logical rather than mystical bs.
Wait - you're deriding Lewis as having issues, then advocating for Freud?

Don't get me wrong, Freud was highly influential (although I'm not sure if he entirely qualifies as a philosopher...). But the guy is the classic example of someone with issues - specifically mommy issues.
 

JaneSmith

Registered Member
#8
Why do you think that? The first account of Socrates was from the satirical play "The Clouds" by Aristophanes, which sends up Socrates as an amoral sophist who mocked the gods and taught young people to avoid debts with trickery. It would seem strange that the soldier and historian Xenophon would later use that character as a mouthpiece for practical wisdom in his dialogs, and for Plato to portray Socrates as a philosopher who opposed sophistry in his own dialogs. Both Plato and Xenophon claimed to have known Socrates, and Aristophanes was a contemporary of the man. There's no doubt that the accounts of Socrates are all somewhat fictionalized, but I also don't see any reason to suspect Socrates was entirely fictional, and the first known account of him portrayed him as a bumbling buffoon as opposed to a wise sage; so you can't really say he was a character invented for the purpose of representing as much.
hmmm, Aristophanes uses a character in a play. hmmmmm, Xenophon uses the character in for dialog. hmmmm Plato described him as a contemporary man... character. And what about the famous painting of Socrates death? He's 60 with abs of steel.
Let's look at the language of the time. They spoke in metaphor. They were an advancing society who was converting from multi-gods to monotheism. What better way to do that than to use a symbol. Like Socrates who was about creative thinking and forward motion?
For example, the same way we use Paris Hilton as a bumbling drunk whorebag spoiled symbol of what we don't want to be... people of the past had their symbols to. Does Paris Hilton exist? Who cares... it's the symbolism and forward progress that is immortal. That's the beauty of the ancient Greeks.
------
Wait - you're deriding Lewis as having issues, then advocating for Freud?

Don't get me wrong, Freud was highly influential (although I'm not sure if he entirely qualifies as a philosopher...). But the guy is the classic example of someone with issues - specifically mommy issues.
Ahhh, then we have the perfect pair to compare and contrast.

Bottom line... The path to divine.
CS Lewis said it is love, and emotion.
Freud said it is physical.
Apparently mommy has something to do with both. I say mommy's an obstacle of man/woman reaching full individual spirituality. CS Lewis couldn't reach true love until his mom died. Freud couldn't masturbate when his mom was around... or something. There's some philosophy for ya. ;)
 
Last edited:

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
#9
JaneSmith said:
Let's look at the language of the time. They spoke in metaphor. They were an advancing society who was converting from multi-gods to monotheism. What better way to do that than to use a symbol. Like Socrates who was about creative thinking and forward motion?
You've got motive, but motive isn't enough to establish fact.
 

JaneSmith

Registered Member
#10
You've got motive, but motive isn't enough to establish fact.
Ok, well we know Zeus and his pals didn't exist. I'm sure many at the time believed they did.
Let's explore the movement into monotheism and how the Abrahamic religions that are dominant today trumped the Greeks maybe?

The collapse of the Bronze age was devastating for the Greeks and the time frame of Socrates was near the collapse of the following Iron Age. Unless there were to be dramatic changes in society Greece was headed for extinction. Thus a new wave of thinking was needed, an expansion of mind, a smarter and more efficient way was provided by Socrated. If we want to believe in heros then we can believe he existed. If we want to understand politics then he was a nobody or just a symbol like Joe the Plumber.

Again motive and no proof... but proof is for empiracle and not the pragmatic.