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Most overrated philosopher of all time?

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Posted on Aug 12, 2014 7:54:22 PM PDT
arun jetli says:
The biiggest mythology is the the divination of Aristotle at best a mediocre philosopher. The Sceintific basis for logic and math was set up in India. Aristotle's ethics is absolute and has no basis but the acceptence of the nor. Plato wasmore objective. It is not a fluke that all of Aristotle's physics and biology is wrong. His logic is binary whereas the Jains had already discovered seven pronged logic. Aristotle was wthnocentric because he was illogical. He compiled some common sense thics based on the Persians and then regarded them as barbarians.
He was the teacher of Alexander one of the greatest mass murderers of all time. Eurocentric history is not interested in objective depiction of history but is in line with the theocratic west who needed a balance required because their religion is dogmatic. the only great Greek philosopher was PLato, as Pre-Socratics were anatolians and not Greek. Even Plato is not quite original but he is definitely profound.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2010 2:08:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2010 2:10:20 PM PDT
Symplokę says:
"Definitly (sic) nietzsche. Ughhh!"

Really? Why so? I'm always curious when N's detractors blurt out their opinions of him...

Posted on Jul 16, 2010 1:25:39 PM PDT
"Most overrated philosopher of all time?"

Definitly nietzsche. Ughhh!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2010 7:14:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2010 8:29:00 PM PDT
Symplokę says:
"Nietzsche was a philologist, essayist, polemicist, poet and later neuro afflicted - but who has had a great influence on a few philosophers and more writers - but arguably not as a philosopher."

I simply cannot agree with you here. Your assertion doesn't seem to be the case in Europe and not even here in the US at this point. Nietzsche was definitely a philosopher and far better than most in the tradition. His descriptions of truth, for instance, are not only unique but of deep importance given the Western traditions tendency toward placing "reality" on a fictitious world. Aside from this his polemics, criticism, etc, was all grounded in an attempt to view the real without its confusion with our evaluations of it, that is with "morality."

With this latter perspective in mind see

Joyful Cruelty: Toward a Philosophy of the Real (Odeon)

and, as to 'truth' and language see

Nietzsche and the Promise of Philosophy (S U N Y Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)

The latter has, what I think, is the best interpretations of Nietzsche's perspective of truth.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2010 7:08:39 PM PDT
Symplokę says:
And you seem to have not read Nietzsche, particularly if this is yet another silly claim to his supposed "nihilism." But what can I expect from someone who, by the looks of their Amazon profile, really does believe in Nothing (aka the "absolute").

Posted on Mar 2, 2010 4:37:56 AM PST
I would think Marx and possibly Hegel. Marx really was the cause of so much suffering and voilence based on reasoning he knew not to be reasonable. Hegel because of he took plays on words to such a level of cleverness.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2010 4:40:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2010 4:43:04 PM PST
Skoorby says:

"Or more to the point, his philosophy might be less well known than it should be because he, or rather his acolytes, are responsible for some of the worst excesses of modern neo-con mischief including, but not restricted to, the unnecessary war in Iraq."

I think this is generally a pretty overrated thing in itself. None of his direct students got involved in politics (that I know of), and I don't think his philosophy was ever particularly influential in the Bush administration. I doubt anyone will be reading his books 100 years from now, but for now they're pretty good I think. "The City and Man" particularly. He and (some of) his students excelled at reading philosophy closely. Laurence Lampert and Joe Sachs are both from that line, and are probably the best new commentator on Nietzsche and one of the best new translators of Aristotle respectively.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2010 3:30:49 PM PST
Ned Casey says:
Leo Strauss. In fact, he might be underrated. Or more to the point, his philosophy might be less well known than it should be because he, or rather his acolytes, are responsible for some of the worst excesses of modern neo-con mischief including, but not restricted to, the unnecessary war in Iraq. In terms of the quality of his philosophy, then I would have to agree with you that he is incredibly overrated.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2010 12:15:48 PM PST
This is just pure name dropping. If you read philosophy like this...its no wonder why Derrida appears confusing to you lol.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2010 10:28:35 AM PST
Paul Beaird says:
The rambling confusion of this post is easily detected by comparing its lengh with its opening statement. THAT is a "couple of comments? Further compounded by not offering anything other than wandering comments about every name dropped. What is the point of discussing philosophers, whose job is to offer evidence and explanations, if you, yourself, offer neither?
The length given to Rand and the ignorance displayed make his hatred of Kant's counterpode the only "message" in this post.

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 10:08:36 AM PST
Robert Moore says:
A couple of more comments.

I think Herbert Spencer would be overrated if he were still widely read. I don't think he is overrated now, but merely forgotten.

Sartre is hard to overrate. One may not like what he did, but his influence was huge, undeniably the most important French intellectual of the 20th century, important as a philosopher, a literary critic, a political philosopher, a playwright, and a novelist. BTW, does everyone now that he and Schweitzer were cousins? I think technically cousins once removed. Sartre's maternal grandfather was Schweitzer's paternal grandfather. His name was Schweitzer. Actually Jean-Paul was much, much closer to him than Albert. I don't think Albert and Jean-Paul were close at all.

I don't think Hegel is overrated, though I do think some make too much of him. Philosophically he represents a compete dead in, in that he presented a closed system that didn't hold up over time. But it is silly of anyone to imply that he wasn't one of the most important philosophers ever.

I think the entire topic could have been framed a bit differently. So much of this is subjective. I like Frege, but the emphasis on his thought by some people is over-the-top.

I think there are thinkers show can simply be skipped. Like Ayn Rand (take away the political agenda of those who read her and she'd vanish overnight -- and indeed, she has very few readers outside the United States and absolutely none outside the English speaking world). She is a freak of libertarians in the US, which is one reason no philosophers read her (the small enclave at the American Philosophical Society devoted to Objectivism is comprised of 4th tier thinkers no one has heard of -- a few decades a lone "name" [well, I say "name" though in fact most people today would even have heard of him] philosopher was interested in Rand, and that was John Hospers, a name family to the few who will know of him as a writer in the philosophy of art -- though he broke with Rand and paid no real attention to her thought as he matured). She becomes interesting only if you are in on the ideology. If you are truly "objective" or even just open minded, she has no interest.

Let me approach this in more personal way. Here are

PHILOSOPHERS I'VE READ AND ENJOYED AND WANT TO CONTINUE TO READ -- Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Montaigne, Heidegger (even though I find him wrong on so much and I detest his stupidity in becoming involved with Nazism, which he passionately embraced, despite attempts to white wash him), Foucault (again, though I disagree with much in him), Michael Dummett (despite being an appalling prose writer), Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx (I think he was wrong about the progress of history, but his analysis of chaotic capitalism is pretty much spot on--does everyone know that he, unlike Ayn Rand, was a passionate believer in democracy and believed in universal suffrage, while Rand sometimes came close to believing that only a few should vote and sometimes doesn't even think that democracy is a very good idea at all, in fact at times seeming to yearn for an oligarchy), Nietzsche (I rarely agree with him, but he is just so damned stimulating), Charles Taylor, John Rawls, Immanuel Kant, Plato, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Deleuze, Pierre Hadot, Gilbert Ryle, J. L. Austin. I love Antony Kwame Appiah and Simon Critchley among current writers. I recently have discovered Emmanuel Levinas for the first time. He could become one of my favorites. I also like William James, though I've never warmed up to either John Dewey (though I did track down the site of the house he lived in when he was a resident of Chicago -- it is now a playground across the street from the Lutheran School of Theology).

PHILOSOPHERS I'VE READ AND DISLIKED BUT THINK IT IMPORTANT TO READ -- Spinoza, Hegel (God, I hate reading Hegel), Michael Oakeshott (why don't more conservatives read him instead of the lightweights they do?), Aristotle (I find reading Aristotle torturous), Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Descartes, Leibniz, Herder, Schelling, Schlegel, Schopenhauer, Frege, Rudolf Carnap, Saul Kripke, Robert Nozick, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham,

PHILOSOPHERS I SIMPLY CAN'T STAND TO READ -- Derrida (if language is opaque, won't it be opaque even if you don't attempt to make it more opaque? -- I have no respect for mystification), Alfred North Whitehead, Aquinas and all the Scholastics, Bertrand Russell (both in his early days when he was really doing philosophy and in his latter career when he was more a journalist), Homi Bhoba (not a philosopher, but a major intellectual, who should be jailed for his prose, which is worst than Derrida's and about as bad as Judith Butler's--Bhoba and Butler have both won that award given each year for the most turgid academic writing). Then there are the jokes, like Mortimer Adler, Cornel West, Ayn Rand, and Will Durant.

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 9:39:17 AM PST
How could Heidegger be overrated? The dates of Continental philosophy might as well be marked with B.H. (before Heidegger) and A.H. (after Heidegger). Few philosophers, or even mystics, for those of you in the school of Analytic thought lol, have been as prolific as Martin Heidegger. How many volumes are in the Gesamtausgabe?! As far as his Nazism goes, we all too often hold onto the naive notion that thinkers/artists/writers must be good, ethical individuals if their work is going to be of lasting, important value, which is just absolutely absurd!

A thinker I see as currently overrated is...Alain Badiou (Zizek is a close second. Yes, he's entertaining, but his whole project is simply based on shock value).

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 10:25:59 PM PST
Robert Moore says:
I think Jacques Derrida would get my vote. He gets a lot of mileage out of mystification, but once you strip what he says of verbiage, he doesn't have much to say.

I find it comical that anyone even brings Ayn Rand up even to berate her. Philosophers have never taken her seriously even as a novelist, let alone a thinker. She elevated simplistic sloganeering to a low art. And then when intellectuals almost universally rejected her, she started lambasting intellectuals and saying how she was the only person who believed in pure reason. Yeah, if it helps you sleep at night. Now, today it is different, but during her lifetime those on the Right as well as those on the Left laughed at her. Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, William F. Buckley, Ludwig von Mises, Russell Kirk, Whittaker Chambers, and an army of conservatives all thought she was an atrocious joke. And she was. So she can't be overrated because no serious intellectuals have ever "rated" her.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2010 9:57:23 AM PST
2 cents says:
Yes, please do.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 5:31:52 AM PST
Eric Blair says:
Hegel. Do I need to justify this?

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 2:20:29 PM PST
Van Patton says:
I would have to go with Sarte. More significantly however, I think that the most underrated philosopher is Eric Hoffer. That man was beautiful.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2010 5:09:21 AM PST
zonth says:
Early on I found Fichte 'vocation of man' contribution to philosophy useful reading. Nietzsche may have been a polemicist but I believe made a definitive contribution to knowledge albeit of the psychological/human condition type, along the same lines as La Rochefocault, Emile Cioran etc. At least these aphoristic writers attempt to clarify.

Versus verbose useless Herbert Spencer, D'Arcy Thompson

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2010 7:22:37 AM PST
Fichte might be a more likely candidate - Nietzsche was a philologist, essayist, polemicist, poet and later neuro afflicted - but who has had a great influence on a few philosophers and more writers - but arguably not as a philosopher. By way of contrast - also neglected by philosophers conversant with Witt. on colour: David Katz on colour - and also some very perspicuous notes by M. M-P and (even) J-p S. on colour - something rather lacking in JJ Gibson (as I recall) - although the most provocative piece on colour in years must be Sachs in his bk An Anthropologist on Mars in the opening chapter "The Case of the Colorblind Painter"

Posted on Feb 20, 2010 5:34:44 AM PST
ethan514 says:
Seth MacFarlane , Al Rocker is a close second......

Posted on Feb 19, 2010 6:34:41 PM PST
ColdShot says:
russell was an insider, clubmember, selling Dr Spock was selling BS too.....of a different kind, but still BS

gotta be him for overrated

Posted on Feb 19, 2010 6:25:37 PM PST
AMY says:
Nietszche. He just missed the point and kept shooting at nothing.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2010 5:15:09 PM PST
R. Largess says:
GRS - You've inspired me to hunt among my books to locate the copy of "Philosophy in a New Key" which I obtained many years ago - but alas never read! It looks very interesting; I have been thinking a lot about the mind, language, and art, but approaching them from the angle of psychology, linguistics, and animal behavior - not really philosophy as such. Before I begin reading, could you give me an outline of the main points to look for?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2010 11:55:01 PM PST
2 cents says:
Agreed, not original philosophically, but I had the impression Voltaire was mostly viewed by history as a witty popularizer of rationalism. A master rhetorician.

Posted on Feb 18, 2010 11:50:02 PM PST
Hannibal says:
I've thought Voltaire was always overrated. I think he should be moved from the realm of philosopher to popularizer. I just cannot honestly think of any profound contribution he made to philosophy. While he produced some witty, still-entertaining works, that still leaves him without any defining influence or school of thought.

Posted on Feb 18, 2010 3:53:39 PM PST
I was so pleased the other day to be reading a small book on poetry and to find a chapter on Langer! I usually suggest starting with "Philosophy in a New Key" for anyone interested in the place of feeling in the theory of mind, psychiatry or neurology. She is also an inspiration to the author of "The Phenomenology of Dance". She was one of the first English philosophers that I ever read who seemed to realize that we are a form of animal life and who also had some feeling for "animal". And to realize the importance of music. But her teacher was Ernst Cassirer, who could lecture on Einstein and on culture. Canetti, for all his flaws, has some interesting observations relating to the humans and the animals, but I don't think that he ever read Langer (and he was such a misogynist anyway).
Oh, biggest disappointment in 20th Century phil: that Russell never troubled to go to Goettingen and spend some time with Husserl. When to hide the pokers and other heavy objects: an evening with Wittgenstein at the Husserls. Oddest unknown philosopher in the English language: Shadworth Hodgson.
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Discussion in:  Philosophy forum
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Initial post:  Jul 10, 2009
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