Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vote now.

Brian Leiter is running one of his voting surveys. (It's not even Summer yet!) This one is on "Who are the most important philosophers of the early modern period prior to the 19th-century?" Before I start complaining about the (likely) final winner (Kant), let me note (speaking to my audience) that Newton, Euler, Condorcet, Galileo, Maupertuis, D'Alembert, and Franklin (not to mention my very own Huygens) are not even candidates. Given contemporary disciplinary education this should not be surprising, although Newton, especially, has been making a comeback in treatments of the history of philosophy, especially since Friedman's Kant and the Exact Sciences. Even more amazing is that Brian omitted Rousseau, Hutcheson, Mandeville, Wollstonecraft, Sophy de Condorcet, Thomas Paine, Franklin, and Montesquieu. Several of these are really more important that Hammann and Maimon. My only consolation is that Adam Smith, who was a lovely and unappreciated philosopher of science, is in the current top ten. Vote here:


  1. I'm surprised (and glad) that at least Holbach (and Diderot) made it...

  2. Diderot is a surprisingly interesting philosopher of science. He anticipates a lot of the best in Continental philosophy of science (Latour, Bachelard, etc). It's a bit sad he is not better read. I am less impressed by Holbach (who seems derivative from Hobbes), but I can be persuaded otherwise.
    Anyway, Leiter has admitted on his website (without mentioning ours) that he has goofed on omitting Rousseau. If only he can acknowledge his mistake on Newton, too...