Better than Socrates

This about my teacher and friend, Sidney Morgenbesser, by James Ryerson in the New York Times:

Morgenbesser To Bertrand Russell, he was one of the cleverest young men in the United States. To Noam Chomsky, he was one of the most profound minds of the modern era. But to anyone who visits a library to gauge his influence, Sidney Morgenbesser, who taught philosophy at Columbia University from 1955 to 1999, is practically a nonentity: the author of a small stack of seldom-cited papers, the editor of a few anthologies. Not since Socrates has a philosopher gained such a reputation for greatness while publishing so little of note. Certainly no one else shaped so many seminal thinkers while leaving behind almost nothing in the way of major doctrines or ideas. ”Moses published one book,” Morgenbesser pleaded in his own defense. ”What did he do after that?”

”Let me see if I understand your thesis,” he once said to the psychologist B. F. Skinner. ”You think we shouldn’t anthropomorphize people?”

More here. And see earlier posts at 3QD here and here.