Who is the greatest philosopher of all time?

Pick one and ONLY one.

I need to finish reading Wittgenstein and Kant before I get too sure about myself, but for now I’ll tentatively postulate Hume. Mind you, this is a question of personal preference more than anything.

Dude it’s David Lewis.

I prefer the polymaths and multidisciplinarians [self-sic], i.e. those who are not necessarily widely considered to be ‘philosophers,’ uh, technically.

Since we’re only allowed one: Terence McKenna (hero!)

Historically, it’s Hume. Methodologically, it’s Nietzsche. Influentially, it’s Plato.

In the end, as philosophy is something you do, it’s Nietzsche.

It’s gotta be Plato.


(Mckenna is a nutjob that hasn’t provided realistic contributions to… anything even if his knowledge was vast it was surely wasted on biased magical hypothesis)

Ugh, westerners.

Nagarjuna. Because the pillars of Being (Aristotle) and Ought (Kant) topple over and crash mightily without the stabilizing third pillar of Nothingness. And, moving the metaphor off land, because, on the quest to fathom the essential problems of existence, you can’t legitimately make the metaphysical voyage from the particular to the universal (always a rough one due to the natural opposition) without that stabilizing third, er, well, let’s call it ‘absolute realization thingie’ at the metacenter of the hull.

Schlegel. Because of the things he does to my tongue.

Otherwise, Socrates, for saying lots but writing little.

(And, ya, I’d put Nagarjuna right up there, too, but I’ve been in an insidious snit about Buddhism for quite a while and can’t quite bring myself fully to it… :frowning: )

'S’okay. If nothing else, a Buddhist understands how ‘myself’ gets in the way.

No doubt my writing that doesn’t do much to diminish the snit, though. :laughing:

No worries, I take a special pleasure in being snitten with the dharma, it equanimizes my catholic guilt. :smiley:


i’m with faust on plato, hume, and nietzsche

and i’ll add ralph waldo emerson as well - he represents in many ways an american nietzsche

Of course.

Darwin explains the existence of all the others.

I can really see two, diametrically opposed, interpretations for answering this question. The first interpretation demands a very old philosopher, because part of greatness is being able to withstand the test of time and to continue to influence people over a very long period. The second interpretation demands a currently living, ideally rather young philosopher, since they have inherited so much information that they are a proverbial “dwarf on the shoulder of giants”, so we’d need to find a particularly tall dwarf.

In terms of the first interpretation, I don’t see how the answer couldn’t be Plato. All of Western philosophy is said to be footnotes of Plato and since Philosophy is a Western construct, well, it would follow that all philosophy is footnotes of Plato.

In terms of the second interpretation, I don’t see how an answer is possible. Post-modernism has managed to tear down anything anyone has ever said while producing nothing. So all we are left with is nothing. So the answer ought be “no one”. At least not without some narrative to give it context and since those can’t be properly compared without a metanarrative to give it context, and those can’t be . . . what can you do?

If you are talking about all time, that would be my life time, so that would have to be me… If you include fantasy time, I am not so certain… I think Kant was good in many respects, Schopenhaur too, Marx, for an idealist, Personally I have the greatest affinity to Aristippus… I share a birthday with Spinoza, and an efu attitude with Socrates…It is hard to say best… Each brick leans upon another…No one does it alone…

Faust’s answer is mostly agreeable to me, however i would put Aristotle up there with Plato, since all of science and empiricism owes itself to Aristotle’s influence, and philosophy would never have progressed very far without the parallel progressions of scientific understanding.

i also add Ayn Rand, although i realise that the “official” academic community despises her. i add her near the top of the list for her political and economic philosophical contributions of establishing the best defenses ever conceived for capitalism, political freedom and free markets, as well as her reinterpretation and expansion of rational self-interest as the best morality for man-- the OPAR is highly underrated.

i would also throw Gilles Deleuze up there as well, as perhaps the one philosopher who, other than and second only to Nietzsche himself, makes me truly think

Nietzche, Heidegger and Derrida are the best.

I don’t think much of Nietzche…He was bold and brash, but he got a lot wrong…

Hey Detroit; I despise Raynd too, and there is nothing official about me… It was just poppy philosophy for the bourgeoisie…

thanks for your input, i really care.