Sunday, March 30, 2014

A map of philosophers




Recently, I was listening to the (legally free) audiobook of Plato's "The Republic". The Republic is composed of several books and even though the first one is of outstanding quality, I kind of got bored by books 2 and 3 so I switched to Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World". All of these undoubtedly deserve a full article of their own, but that'll be for later and as a reminder for myself, I'll mention that it's a shame that Sagan's book has not been translated into French language and published in France.

While listening to Carl Sagan's audiobook, there was a mention of Sir Francis Bacon who was, according to Wikipedia, considered by Voltaire and Diderot to be the father of modern science, or rather the scientific method.

So I downloaded the (also legally free) audiobook of Bacon's essays. And one thing leading to another I went back to the great map that you can see at the beginning of this article. This map was created by Simonraper and is based on Wikipedia's content. Philosophers represented with a larger circle are philosophers whose Wikipedia article is reachable from the most numerous other philosophers' Wikipedia articles. So the size of each circle is arguably a representation of the philosopher's influence. But the more modern thinkers are likely to see their influence increase in the near future either because they're still alive and they're still producing intellectual content, or because their production is so young that not many other thinkers have had the time and opportunity to analyze and build up on.

This map is also a source of inspiration for my future readings (or rather my listening sessions thanks to Librivox) but the size of it is definitely intimidating.

If you want to see the full map, check it out over there: http://drunks-and-lampposts.com/2012/06/13/graphing-the-history-of-philosophy/

PS: there's no clear mention about the choices of color. I suspect it is related to the field of philosophy in which the philosophers specialized or earned their recognition.

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