Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Little Known Philosophers

Too often professional philosophers remain safely within the canonical offerings when discussing ideas, leaving lesser known writers to fade from the discourse. Today, I would like to reintroduce a few of these more obscure figures from the history of thought:

Mediocrates: A classical Greek rhetorician generally not considered wise enough to actually be a sophist. He was most famous for his semi-anthropic epistemological principle: "Man is the measure of a few things."

Marcus Nottrelius: A Roman skeptic whose arguments were so incredibly successful that, even today, no one believes he existed.

Heinrich Rottmann Puffenschtuff: A 19th century German romantic ethical nihilist who, being deeply influenced by the anti-rationalist undertones in Mozart's The Magic Flute, was led to argue that "one ought not do a little, as one cannot do enough."

Hermann Neutiks: A German philosopher of the early 20th century who contended with a raised eyebrow that everything appears meaningless unless it is all read at one time in its entirety in the original Greek. His writings were roundly dismissed, except by those who claimed with a raised eyebrow that they were deeply meaningful if read at one time in their entirety in the original Greek.

J.J.C. "Jean Paul" Smartre: A mid-20th century thinker who tried to bridge the analytic/continental divide by combining Heiddeger's notion of being with Carnap's analysis of time only to arrive at the idea of "der Neonsein" in which one experiences an alternating blinking in and out of existence.