How-To Geek

Explore Connections Between Philosophers via Philosophy Influence Chart [Infographic]

This massive and interactive chart shows the connections between thousands of past and present philosophers in a massive interconnected web. Zoom in to look at connection between everyone from Aristotle to Hemingway.

Courtesy of Brendan Griffen, the interactive chart is a mashup between his efforts examining the “influences” fields on Wikipedia for thousands of thinkers and using Microsoft’s to create an actual web of connections between them all based on that data.

You can play with the chart in the above module, or hit up the link below to enjoy it at the source.

Philosopher Influence Chart [via Flowing Data]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/16/12

Comments (12)

  1. r

    As amusing as this is I never really considered people like Joan Rivers, Dean Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, and likely half these individuals as philosophers of anything.

  2. Mike Carter

    A bit (thousand words or so) of explanation would be quite helpful in unraveling both these colors and connections. What, for example, would be the link between Norman Rockwell and Paul Cezanne’?They both painted? Soupy Sales paints. He also eats fettuccini. Would that link him to the Italian Leonardo da Vinci? The work that went into this chart is staggering. Equally staggering are the connections being made.

  3. Alex

    Hard to believe that out of thousands of “philosophers” only five Chinese Confucians were on the list…

  4. Synthetic


    There are a few main communities:

    Red – 19th/20th century philosophers
    Green – antiquity & enlightenment philosophers
    Pink – enlightenment authors
    Yellow – 19th/20th century authors (~fiction/philosophy)
    Orange – fiction authors
    Purple – comedians

  5. jasray

    Viewing the Ideas at Zoom.It makes for thinking about creating similar, or simply embedding one. Neat tool.

  6. zach

    Why is Socrates so small?

  7. Seth

    Very interesting.

    Would be about 5x better if it had interaction (clicking on one person would highlight connections to others, with explanations of the connection).

  8. B Pratt

    Would think that Plato would have been the biggest dot, especially since Gödel essentially used the Platonic model to destroy logical positivism. Just amazing how well it still works :) Aristotle, on the other hand, got so much crap wrong.
    Also, why IS the Socrates dot so small??

  9. Subbrilliant

    @r I drink therefore I am.

    D. Martin

  10. r

    @ Subbrilliant

    ..I stand corrected

  11. Weaver

    It’s unfortunate that the graph is nearly indecipherable.

    Besides a fun visual image, I feel its use is very limited.

  12. J

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I find it interesting how there were few religious thought leaders (just Aquinas and Augustine). For better or worse people such as these have had a major influence on civilization (west and east): Jesus Christ – Founder of Christianity; Mohammad – founder of Islam; Confucius – founder of Confucianism ; Buddha – founder of Buddhism; Pope Gregory – from whence we get the current “Gregorian calendar”; Martin Luther – Launched the Protestant Reformation, which broke loose the Medieval Church’s choke hold on society, John Wycliff – the “Morning Star of the Reformation” and first to translate the Bible into the vernacular; to name but a few. Love them or hate them, people such as these have influenced thought on the world stage far more than any of the likes of Rodney Dangerfield!

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