Who are the most influential living philosophers?

  • Who are the most important, widely-read or influential living philosophers still actively working and contributing to the field today? Which thinkers are recognized for doing the most interesting and urgent work?

    This is clearly subjective borderline territory so please try to justify your claim. As per the discussion it's probably not that important to limit yourself to one thinker per answer, but the best answers already justify their decisions based on a reasonable assessment of the importance of the new concepts the thinkers produced. It isn't necessary that the thinker be the most prolific, but she or he should probably rank fairly high in terms of number of citations (Gettier, for instance.) Thank you!

    Voting to close--"list" types of questions are strongly discouraged. The FAQ lays this out pretty explicitly. Such questions violate at least the "every answer is equally valid", and "there is no actual problem to be solved" guidelines of questions that should *not* be asked. It's really much too broad to be answered, and there's no "correct" answer that can ever be determined. I don't even think this is a good community wiki: "most influential" is *far* too subjective and argumentative, and in a bad way. Philosophy is broad, and there are many camps.

    List does not imply community wiki. CW is reserved **solely** for explicitly making posts editable by almost everyone. It's great for rapidly-changing or oft-updated information, mostly. All that aside: This is not a good question for all the reasons stated.

  • Chuck

    Chuck Correct answer

    10 years ago

    In analytic philosophy, I would say Saul Kripke, without a doubt.

    Although his output has by no means been prolific, everything he has written has had a huge and lasting impact. He is quite a character too.

    See especially, Naming and Necessity and Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.

    *Naming and Necessity* is a cracking read, there's no question.

    "Another of his most important contributions is his argument that there are necessary a posteriori truths, such as 'Water is H2O.'" Only in philosophy would saying "Water is H2O" make someone famous. :D

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM