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When we hear the word “philosopher,” we tend to think of Ancient Greeks like Socrates or Plato, or perhaps the Frenchman René Descartes, or maybe infamous Germans like Karl Marx or Friedrich Nietzsche.

Influential philosophers thus seem to populate the past.

This list collects together the 50 most influential philosophers working, thinking, writing, and teaching in the world today.

Parfit is best known for his book Reasons and Persons (1984) which focuses on the intersection of ethics, rationality, and personal identity, in relation to the passage of history, and the future. Dreyfus’ work has been influential to other major contemporary philosophers, such as John Searle (also on this list) and Richard Rorty, and he has been a significant critic of Jean Paul Sartre’s existentialist phenomenology.

Dreyfus is also notable for his influential critique of Artificial Intelligence, dating back to his 1965 article Alchemy and AI, which draws on his phenomenological background to argue that AI research is problematic because of its reliance on four implausible assumptions: the biological, the psychological, the epistemological, and the ontological.

When a memorandum passed round a certain Government department, one young pedant scribbled a postscript drawing attention to the fact that the sentence ended with a preposition, which caused the original writer to circulate another memorandum complaining that the anonymous postscript was "offensive impertinence, up with which I will not put."The carping critic who can criticize the inartistic angle of the firemen's hose while they are attempting to put out the fire, has his counterpart in a nameless individual in the British Foreign Office who once found fault with a projected speech by Winston Churchill.

It was in the most tragic days of World War II, when the life of Britain, nay, of all Europe, hung in the balance.

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