Philosophers on Prospect Magazine’s Top 50 World Thinkers List


Prospect Magazine has revived its “World’s Top 50 Thinkers” list for 2019 after a few years’ break. The current list features a number of philosophers.

They are:

  • Kwame Anthony Appiah (NYU)
  • Patricia Churchland (UC San Diego)
  • Kate Manne (Cornell)
  • Martha Nussbaum (Chicago)
  • Amia Srinivasan (Oxford)

The list also contains a number of thinkers whose work has intersected with those of philosophers, such as Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Frans de Waal, Jonathan Haidt, and others.

You can view the whole list and vote on your favorite here. (Votes will help determine Prospect‘s “Top Ten” list.)

guest
5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Phoenix, Son of Amyntor
Phoenix, Son of Amyntor
1 year ago

That is a good list! I’m especially glad to see two early career philosophers (Kate Mann and Amia Srinivasan) on the list. It gives me hope for our profession.Report

ehz
ehz
1 year ago

It’s very nice that philosophers are well-deserved getting recognition but these kind of lists are just ridiculous. It’s more like ’50 thinkers we hear about in social media’. Report

Jon Light
Jon Light
1 year ago

Agreed, if the world could please stop ranking people, that’d be great.Report

Bharath Vallabha
1 year ago

Why can’t Prospect magazine just say: “These are the 50 thinkers we like best. They are awesome!”? Perfectly reasonable claim. And honest. The work of the philosophers mentioned here is great, and awesome they are getting attention. I also like other thinkers who disagree with these philosophers, but that doesn’t take away from these thinkers’ quality.

But by ranking the magazine is implictly claiming (a) it is in the know who is the best and what the standards are, and thereby (b) making a claim on the readers that they ought to respect (a) and act accordingly (but these authors books, give them more social standing, etc.). (a) and (b) are both – to put it with nuance – crap. No one has remotely any sense for knowing who are the best thinkers in a city, let alone the world. And there is no sense in which Prospect magazine, or any magazine, can justifiably make a claim like (b) on me. This is a magazine trying to give its voice an air of objectivity which it doesn’t even remotely have.

Sad thing is, the air of objectivity is so unnecessary. It can have much the same result by using the more “subjective” phrasing: “We like these thinkers best.” Mixing together a false sense of objectivity with advertising in order to change social norms is not helpful. If the magazine wants to change the social norms, say that is what they want to do and do it. Don’t do it by claiming to have objective standards of goodness at this level of abstraction which neither they nor anyone else possesses. Report

Mark Silcox
Mark Silcox
1 year ago

The fun part about reading lists like this is adapting your expectations to the sorts of patently daft criteria they use for selecting folks, and then seeing if there’s STILL anything left to be outraged about. Which there is, in this case: no Thomas Piketty. I mean, Jesus.Report