Karl Marx wins BBC Radio 4’s Greatest Philosopher poll

BBC Radio 4’s Greatest Philosopher poll is over. The results:

  1. Karl Marx, 27.93%
  2. David Hume, 12.67% (my vote)
  3. Ludwig Wittgenstein, 6.80% 
  4. Friedrich Nietzsche, 6.49%
  5. Plato, 5.65% 
  6. Immanuel Kant, 5.61% 
  7. St. Thomas Aquinas, 4.83% 
  8. Socrates, 4.82%
  9. Aristotle, 4.52% 
  10. Karl Popper, 4.20%

The top two remind me of a story told by Sidney Morgenbesser

In the late 1960s, Sidney taught the first course on Marx offered by Columbia University’s philosophy department.  His take on Marx was very methodological individualist, and his interpretation was similar to a rational choice reading of Marx that would later come to be called “analytic Marxism”.  A young faculty member, who, as Sidney put it, “was then to the left of me, is now to the right of me,” sat in on the class.  After the course was over, Sidney asked his colleague what he thought of the course, to which his colleague replied, “Sidney, that was the best class on David Hume I’ve ever taken.”

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