Well, BBC listeners chose, surprisingly, Karl Marx by an overwhelming majority. The next three in the runnings also exercised great influence for what most would call evil: David Hume, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Frederich Nietzche. Finally, Plato gets in there, but his 6% pales in comparison to the 28% garnered for Marx.

I’m interested in what Mere-O readers think of this poll and its results (Is Marx even a proper philosopher?). Also, who would you name as the greatest philosopher and why? Take a look at the BBC shortlist to give yourself an idea of the criteria for a “philosopher” – you know it is broad when the likes of Kierkegaard and Marx are on there.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

6 Comments

  1. […] Greatest Philosopher? One BBC poll gets it (almost certainly) wrong, noted at Mere Orthodoxy by Andrew Selby. […]

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  2. I’m glad to know Socrates came in above Popper. I’ll have to go read all Socrates’ works so I can be an informed student of philosophy.

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  3. “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.'” -Marx

    Two questions:

    1. If a successful philosopher is a philosopher who changes the world, then should it not be the judge of Marx’s success or failure how many countries in the civilized world are currently socialist?

    2. Should it not be a (perhaps more strict) judge of success how happy and successful, as countries, those socialist countries are?

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  4. I’ll have to go read all Socrates’ works so I can be an informed student of philosophy.

    Since being an author isn’t an entry requirement, I’m going to go with Pythagoras.

    Take a look at the BBC shortlist to give yourself an idea of the criteria for a “philosopher” – you know it is broad when the likes of Kierkegaard and Marx are on there.

    Maybe it should be called the “Greatest Philosophizer” poll.

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  5. The greatest philosophers are probably Socrates, Aquinas, and Kant. No other people have the influence of these.

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