Underrated Philosophers III: Blaise Pascal

This here is the absolute high point of anything I will ever write about underrated philosophers. Sure, there are others like Ramon Llull who are less known, some who get misinterpreted (Wittgenstein, anyone?), some who are so stunningly original that nobody quite realized the significance of what they were saying at the time (Dante), but none who are a combination of all the above like Pascal.

I’ve wanted to write about Pascal since I started this silly blog.* Okay, probably since before then. Pascal is my favorite philosopher by far, which is hard to explain to people; he’s also the one who’s most criminally ignored, which is hard for those of us who love him to explain. Continue reading

Underappreciated Philosophers II: Machiavelli

Seriously? Niccolo Machiavelli, one of the most studied, influential, and reviled philosophers ever, underappreciated? Really? Really?

Yup, really. Or, perhaps, misunderstood. If you ask me, you should never take anything in The Prince at face value. It’s not a treatise on government; no, if you’ve read your Plato and your Boethius, you’ll see it for exactly what it is: a sarcastic warning to anyone who might want to become entangled in the affairs of courts and princes. Continue reading