Who Is Edmund Husserl?

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This is way outside of my usual wheelhouse, but I was sort of intrigued by this network graph of famous philosophers put together a few weeks ago by Simon Raper. (Via Sullivan.) As you’d expect, virtually all of the big circles are household names (or pretty close), and as the circles get smaller there’s a greater chance that I haven’t heard of the person. But what’s interesting is that this graph has a feature shared by a lot of assessments like this, namely that there are frequently one or two sharp exceptions: someone extremely influential who’s not only not a household name, but completely unknown to me. In this case, it’s Edmund Husserl. Never heard of him. And yet, if this graph is anything close to accurate, he’s as influential among philosophers as Heidegger, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Hume, and Wittgenstein — and more influential than Leibniz, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, and Mill.

This seems to happen a lot. In this case I’m curious about whether it’s for real. Is Husserl one of those guys who had immense influence within his profession but is largely unknown to the public at large? Did the algorithm that produces this chart make a mistake? Or was the guy who wrote his Wikipedia entry just an enthusiast who eagerly dropped Husserl’s name into lots of other entries, thus gaming the system? Educate me in comments.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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