[lit-ideas] Re: Philosophical League Tables

while i find wittgenstein of very little importance, even more so the
'investigations'  tractatus is and ought to be among the gravestones of a
great century, great stones, no doubt - as he said, he had a wonderful life
- as for post 1999, the Language and Mind, springs to attention

On Sat, Aug 18, 2012 at 4:25 AM, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> On the *Savage Minds *blog, Matt Thompson has discovered something he
> finds interesting.
>
> The other day I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Wittgenstein when I
>> came across a claim that piqued my curiosity, “In 1999 his posthumously
>> published Philosophical Investigations (1953) was ranked as the most
>> important book of 20th Century philosophy.” The embedded citation led me to
>> this–
>> Lackey, Douglas P. 1999. “What Are the Modern Classics? The Baruch Poll
>> of Great Philosophy in the Twentieth Century.” The Philosophical Forum. 30
>> (4).
>> Lo and behold, it’s a journal article. In Wikipedia! It just so happens
>> that my library has access to The Philosophical Forum, so I got the pdf to
>> check it out. Call it productive procrastination, but I love digression.
>> I’m like a kid pulling a thread out of the sand. Where does this lead?
>> It was Y2K and Lackey had read a bunch of Best of the Century-type lists
>> and had the idea to do one for philosophers. So he emailed 4,000 philosophy
>> professors and received 414 replies to his survey. The article includes
>> separate rankings for most important book and most important article, with
>> light commentary on each entry. It’s quite an enjoyable article, worthy of
>> an extended coffee break or unwinding at the end of the day.
>> He describes the survey methodology:
>> We asked respondents to name the five most important books in philosophy
>> in the twentieth century, and also the five most important articles. Giving
>> five choices permits discretion, but five is a small enough number to force
>> voters to choose their selections carefully. Since we were interested in
>> judgments of quality, we instructed respondents to make their choices on
>> the basis of intrinsic merit, not on the basis of causal influence. (By the
>> causal influence standard, Mein Kampf might be the most important book of
>> the twentieth century.)
>> …
>> We asked respondents to list their choices in order of preference. On
>> this score we had little compliance… We decided not to use any point system
>> for weighting the results according to preference. We did keep track,
>> however of which book was listed first on each ballot, and used that
>> indication to break ties.
>> Lackey notes that only twenty five books got eleven votes or more, which
>> if he took in more than 400 survey responses means many, many books only
>> got a few votes at most. In other words, there’s a long tail on this not
>> represented in the rankings below. The survey results, Lackey’s top
>> twenty-five:
>> Total votes/ Total ranked 1st…..Author, Title
>>
>
>
>> 179/ 68….. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
>> 134/ 51….. Heidegger, Being and Time
>> 131/ 21….. Rawls, Theory of Justice
>> 77/ 24….. Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
>> 64/ 27….. Russell & Whitehead, Principia Mathematica
>> 63/ 7….. Quine, Word and Object
>> 56/ 5….. Kripke, Naming and Necessity
>> 51/ 3….. Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions
>> 38/ 4….. Sartre, Being and Nothingness
>> 34/ 16….. Whitehead, Process and Reality
>> 30/ 4….. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic
>> 25/ 5….. Dewey, Experience and Nature
>> 23/ 0….. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception
>> 19/ 0….. Moore, Principia Ethica
>> 18/ 1….. James, Pragmatism tied with MacIntyre, After Virtue
>> 17/ 9….. Husserl, Logical Investigations
>> 17/ 5….. Husserl, Ideas
>> 17/ 2….. de Beauvoir, Second Sex
>> 14/ 2….. Hart, Concept of Law
>> 14/ 0….. Ryle, Concept of Mind
>> 13/ 1….. Goodman, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast
>> 12/ 3….. Gadamer, Truth and Method
>> 12/ 2….. Parfit, Reasons and Persons
>> 11/ 5….. Russell, Problems of Philosophy tied with Quine, From a Logical
>> Point of View and Popper, Logic of Scientific Discovery
>
>
> Thinking of favorite topics of conversation on Lit-Ideas, I note
>
> 1. that we seem to agree with the general consensus that Wittgenstein is
> very, very important
> 2. that we are constantly discussing only a very small subset of the
> authors listed here
> 3. that Popper barely makes the cut, in a tie for 24th place, and Grice
> does not appear at all
>
> I also find myself wondering if there has been anything written since
> 1999, the year when this survey was conducted, that would find its way into
> a top-25 that included the first decade of the new millennium—or even be a
> possible entry for a similar survey done, in say, 2049.
>
> Comments?
>
> --
> John McCreery
> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
> Tel. +81-45-314-9324
> jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
> http://www.wordworks.jp/
>



-- 
palma, KZN

















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*The common base of all the Semitic creeds, winners or losers, was the*

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