Jun 4, 2017

The Philosophy Fans Have Spoken!

It is an astounding number, but at this point, I have created over 300 short Philosophy Core Concept videos - check out the playlist here - covering a pretty extensive range of philosophers.

Looking to expand the figures that I included in the series, I decided to get some input from my viewers, subscribers, and social media followers.  So I created a poll.  And the results were quite interesting.

The philosophy fans have spoken!  It looks like this summer - in addition to the other video production I have planned - I'll be shooting, editing, and releasing a lot of new video content on three main thinkers, all of them German:  Martin Heidegger, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Nietzsche.  (By the way, I've also created a Patreon page to support that time-intensive video production work)

The Polling Results

We had 173 total participants in the three-question poll.  Here's what the final results looked like:

Question 1: If you had to pick just one of these thinkers for Greg to create Core Concept video content on, who would you select?

  • Martin Heidegger  - 34  - 20%
  • Immanuel Kant  - 21  - 12%
  • Friedrich Nietzsche - 13  - 8%
  • Jacques Lacan  - 11 - 6%
  • Karl Marx   - 11 - 6%

Question 2:  Now, which of these thinkers would be your second choice for Greg to create Core Concept video content on?

  • Martin Heidegger  - 20  - 12%
  • Friedrich Nietzsche - 16  - 9%
  • Immanuel Kant  - 14  - 8%
  • Benedict Spinoza  - 11 - 6%
  • Karl Marx   - 11 - 6%
  • Plato   - 11 - 6%

Question 3: Now opening it up a bit more - which of these thinkers do you have a strong interest in? (participants could select multiple options on this question).

  • Martin Heidegger  - 69  - 40%
  • Friedrich Nietzsche - 63  - 36%
  • Immanuel Kant  - 59  - 34%
  • Soren Kierkegaard  - 57 - 33%
  • G.W.F. Hegel  - 48 - 28%
  • Karl Marx - 48 - 28%

Analysis of the Poll and My Upcoming Video Production

One thing is absolutely clear - there's a strong and widespread desire on the part of people who watch my videos or follow me in social media to see a lot of new content on Martin Heidegger.  This might have to do with how difficult his works prove to be for many readers!  That result was a bit of a surprise to me - he wasn't in the top 5 early on, but then started creeping up there, and eventually passed Kant to take the lead.

Immanuel Kant was in the top 5 early on in the polling.  He shot to number one position, and held that spot for quite some time, until Heidegger passed him up as we moved into the weekend.  I'm willing to bet that the strong demand for Kant has a similar motive - he's another thinker whose texts seriously challenge readers.  And he's also someone who gets assigned quite often to students in Intro to Philosophy and in Ethics courses.

Then there is Nietzsche - someone who always tends to get a lot of attention.  It's interesting to see that although he did make the number 3 position in the first question, he wasn't the first choice for a lot of people.  In fact, he was a second choice for more people than a first choice.  Notice the seriously solid numbers, though, for the "strong interest" question.  More than a third of the people polled responded that he was among the philosophers they have a strong interest in.

Once we get away from the top 3, the figures and the numbers start to become a bit more disconnected.  You'll notice that Karl Marx does have a strong showing - with ties, he makes it into the top 5 in each question.  Hegel, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, and Lacan also show some decent numbers. It's also nice to see some ancient philosophy getting in there with Plato!

Why so much German philosophy?  I suspect one reason is that it's largely underrepresented among my core concept videos.  At this point, I have a few videos in that series on Kant and one on Nietzsche, but that's it.  I have a slew on Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, and Anselm of Canterbury, and a few on Epicurus and Aquinas - and I just started adding a few on Cicero - so ancient and medieval already has a decent representation.  I suppose that a good portion of the participants thought it was about time I get to those Germans!

What Texts Will I be Shooting On This Summer?

Keep in mind that Core Concept videos are exactly that - each one of them focuses on one central idea, distinction, problem, or argument in a particular thinker's text.  They tend to be focused on fairly short portions of a work.  

I do already have people excited about me tackling more Heidegger who are calling for me to go through the entirety of Being and Time.  That's not really a summer project!  In order to do it really well, I'd likely have to apply a method similar to what I have been doing with the Half Hour Hegel project - but I would only tackle a massive work like that after I'm finished with Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit!

What I'm going to do with these Core Concept videos is a bit less ambitious than that, but it's still going to be a ton of work, and will end up producing a lot of new video content (and again, if you'd like to support that work on my Patreon page, I'll be very grateful to you!).  Here's the texts and thinkers I'm thinking I'll be delving into:

Martin Heidegger:
  • Being and Time - I'll definitely do some Core Concept videos on selected portions of the work
  • "On The Essence of Truth" - a very important essay, and I'll cover all of that one
  • "The Question Concerning Technology" - another important essay
  • Identity and Difference - a great short work, which hopefully I'll get to. . . 

Immanuel Kant:
  • Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals - I do already have some videos on this, but there's additional parts of the text that I didn't discuss
  • Prolegomena To Any Future Metaphysics - often assigned, dense and jargon-rich, and worth discussing
  • "An Answer To The Question: What Is Enlightenment?"  - a short but centrally important essay
  • "On The Proverb: That May Be True In Theory, But Has No Practical Use" - another one I hope to get to
  • "To Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" - I might also get to this one

Friedrich Nietzsche:
  • The Birth of Tragedy - a classic early work, full of ideas to be unpacked and examined
  • "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" - a great early essay, which will be a lot of fun to go over
  • The Genealogy of Morals - I've done one video on this, and it could use a lot more.

I'm also hoping to get some other Core Concept video material produced on other thinkers.  I've already shot a short sequence of five videos on Cicero's Stoic Paradoxes, and am releasing them at present.  I might also create some videos on another of his works, On The Nature of the Gods.

I'll likely also shoot a few on Hegel's Self-Consciousness section of the Phenomenology (including the Master-Slave dialectic - which, by the way, we've got a free webinar and intensive online seminars on, later this month).  I'll also do some Marx, though I need to think about what I'd most like to focus upon.

I'd also like to produce some videos on key ideas in Descartes' Meditations and Hobbes' Leviathan, and sneak them in here and there - but we'll see just how much I'm able to get accomplished.  This is already quite a lot of work planned ahead!