OPINION: What your favorite philosopher says about you

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Megan Fisher

Graphic done by Megan Fisher

Rose Donnelly, Commentary writer

One thing that I have found while being a philosophy student, is that everyone has strong opinions about who is the best philosopher to them. Young adults get so enthralled with being different or smarter than their fellow classmates. They find a philosopher and learn enough about them to where they can flex on their peers about the surface level information they have on the said philosopher.

Thomas Hobbes 

You only know about the state of nature and the social contract theory. It’s the only philosophical idea that you know well enough to explain to literally everyone you know. Honestly, you’re kind of weird and have a funky smell to you.

Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you say that Nietzsche is your favorite philosopher, you probably don’t actually understand him. You think that the “God is dead” passage defined your life at age fifteen and your entire high school experience. 

Albert Camus 

You smoke Reds and are most likely a super nice person. You say you like him for his absurdism, but in reality, you just think he’s really hot. 

Aristotle 

You enjoy pain and are a borderline masochist. I will admit that I am locked tight in the grip of his Doctrine of the Mean theory. I get the appealing nature of his philosophy, but sometimes reading his work makes one cross-eyed.  

Plato  

You have daddy issues. 

Socrates 

You believe you would be a martyr like Socrates if the occasion arose. I get the feeling that you’re lowkey full of yourself, but play it off as being academically talented. 

Søren Kierkegaard 

If you say Kierkegaard is your favorite philosopher, you were (and probably still are) a problematic child. The only reason you have any interest in him is because you watched one YouTube video where you found out Kierkegaard coined the term “angst.”

Karl Marx 

I am a little intimidated by you. You are probably a little socialist or communist and are cooler than 90% of your peers. If you say that Marx is your favorite, it’s mostly a joke but you do hate capitalism with a fiery passion.

Sigmund Freud

If you think Sigmund Freud is a philosopher and he is your favorite, do yourself a favor and read an actual philosophy book. 

Is there an issue with the list above?

Are you seeing a trend here? These are all men. When you think of a famous philosopher, 99% of the time you will have a whole list of men before you get to a single woman. There is a long history of sexism in philosophy. If you google “famous philosophers” out of the top 51 listed, only three are women. 

Broaden your philosophy reading by adding more diversity to your list of philosophers. Having a list of old, dead, white dudes is quite a limited perspective of philosophy. Branch out and learn about other philosophers that aren’t the “classics.” 

If you’re interested in learning more about philosophy or would like to participate in discussions with your peers, come to Philosophy Club. They meet in Cherry Hall Room 316 at 5:30p.m. on Thursdays. 

Commentary writer Rose Donnelly can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @RoseDonnelly_