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Marx wins In Our Time's Greatest Philosopher vote

Category: Radio 4

Date: 13.07.2005
Printable version

Out of a shortlist of twenty of the best known, most respected and influential philosophical thinkers, nominated by the In Our Time audience, Karl Marx has been voted the Greatest Philosopher of all time by BBC Radio 4 listeners.


With an astonishing 28 per cent of the 30,000 votes cast, Marx - championed by author and journalist Francis Wheen - was the clear winner.


Runner-up, with 12.7 per cent of the vote, was Scottish philosopher David Hume, championed in the poll by modern day philosopher and author, Julian Baggini.


Wittgenstein, championed by Jonathan Sachs and nominated by, amongst others, Will Self, garnered 6.8 per cent of the vote and came in third.


In Our Time, presented by Melvyn Bragg, ran the online poll over a period of five weeks and attracted over a million hits to its extended website.


The programme will be devoting tomorrow's edition (9.00-9.45am, Thursday 14 July, Radio 4) to a discussion of Marx and his ideas.


From celebrities to newspapers, it seems everyone has a favourite philosopher.


The Guardian came out in favour of Kant; The Economist urged potential voters to support David Hume; and The Independent plumped for Wittgenstein then changed its mind, playing on Wittgenstein's famous change of philosophical position.


Celebrities also came out in force to support their greatest philosopher too - BBC Radio 2 DJ Terry Wogan backed Marcus Aurelius; Anne Robinson nominated Nietzsche; Mariella Frostrup came out in favour of Kierkegaard; Stephen Fry nominated Plato; and John Humphrys plumped for French footballer turned actor Eric Cantona!


The twenty-strong shortlist was decided after a first round; those with the highest number of votes went through to the next round where they had a specialist advocate, an expert academic who put the case forward for voting for that particular philosopher.


The final stage of the vote began on 6 June when listeners were able to vote for a philosopher from the final shortlist via the Radio 4 website.


The vote ended at midnight on 7 July.


The In Our Time Greatest Philosophers Vote special: Thursday 14 July on Radio 4, 9.00-9.45am


Notes to Editors


Since the vote started, the MP3 downloads for In Our Time have increased by 50 per cent. The programme now records 30,000 downloads a week. Half of all downloads across BBC Radio are from In Our Time.


Before the vote, the In Our Time website was getting 150,000 hits a week. That built to a peak of 300,000 during the vote and has settled to around 220,000 a week now. In Our Time is currently the most popular Radio 4 programme on the internet after The Archers.


The Melvyn Bragg newsletter has increased by 2,000 subscribers during the vote and now goes out to nearly 15,000 people every week.


Nominee % Accepted votes
1. Marx 27.93%
2. Hume 12.67%
3. Wittgenstein 6.80%
4. Nietzsche 6.49%
5. Plato 5.65%
6. Kant 5.61%
7. Aquinas 4.83%
8. Socrates 4.82%
9. Aristotle 4.52%
10. Popper 4.20%




Category: Radio 4

Date: 13.07.2005
Printable version


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