Thursday, July 14, 2005

you should have seen sartre's headshots

You've probably heard about the dust-up across the pond over Radio 4's philosopher popularity contest, in which Karl Marx emerged as big man on campus. The Economist and others couldn't believe David Hume wouldn't kick Karl's ass. (Hume came in second, ahead of Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Plato, Kant, St. Thomas Aquinas, Socrates, Aristotle, and Karl Popper. Uh, Karl who?) The Guardian thinks this may be a symptom of the dumbing down of high culture - the contest itself, not Marx's diamond tiara. Today in The Independent, Camille Paglia puts forth her list of the top 10 female philosophers.

I feel women in general are less comfortable than men in inhabiting a highly austere, cold, analytical space, such as the one which philosophy involves. Women as a whole - and there are obvious exceptions - are more drawn to practical, personal matters. It is not that they inherently lack a talent or aptitude for philosophy or higher mathematics, but rather that they are more unwilling than men to devote their lives to a frigid space from which the natural and the human have been eliminated.

It has become tiresome to constantly blame every blip in women's lives on sexism and discrimination by men. Today's lack of major female philosophers is not due to lack of talent but to the collapse of philosophy. Philosophy as traditionally practised may be a dead genre. This is the age of the internet in which we are constantly flooded by information in fragments. Each person at the computer is embarked on a quest for and fabrication of his or her identity.

Thanks to A Fool in the Forest for the Paglia link & SI for the Economist rundown


Anonymous said...

To quote from an email I received on the subject: "And I have to say Hume surprised me a bit as a number two. Let's put it this way, there are well-known words for people or things that agree with Marx, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Augustine (Marxist/Marxian, Platonic, Aristotelian, Cartesian, Augustinian), but try typing the
word Humean in Microsoft Word and see if the spell check approves or

escapegrace said...

That sounds Kempist.

I thought I'd try out the remaining top ten: Wittgensteinian, Nietzschian, Kantic, Aquinian, and Popperalicious.