44 Philosophers
copyright 2011 by Tim Griffin

Diogenes the cynic held a lamp to find an honest man
Seneca the Stoic said to be as simple as you can
Zeno was a dialectic specialist in paradox
Schrodinger was keen on killing cats inside a little box
Strato followed Aristotle, he was pretty peripatetic
Kant abhorred empiricism, sought a model more synthetic

Heidegger questioned common sense and wondered what it means to be
Buddha found enlightenment by sitting ‘neath a bodhi tree
Confucius wrote his Analects about relationships and rules
Parmenides loved his logic, built the Eliatic school
Cicero reminded us to keep the horse before the cart
I think, therefore I am: I think that am Rene Descartes

Augustine imported ancient Greece to Christianity
Rousseau rejected pride and tried for natural humanity
Sartre said to cultivate an existential attitude
Basically he wrote that your reality reflects your mood
Machiavelli said that every ruler should be autocratic
Will James claimed the best approach was to be more pragmatic

Hobbes agreed the sovereign should have absolute authority
That didn’t bother Gorgias, he said there’s no one here but me
John Locke was a pillar of Enlightenment Empiricism
Marx wrote a Manifesto, he predicted communism
People reading Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra had a cow
Lao, Tzu, said, to, slow, down, find, the Tao

Hume declared that humans run not on reason but desire
Empedocles had lots fun with air, water, earth, and fire
Xenophanes’ claim to fame was claiming there was just one God
Don’t forget economists like Adam Smith and Hesiod
King, Thoreau, and Gandhi showed that non-violence was the way
Democritus named for us the politics we have today

Thales chose geometry instead of pure mythology
Protagoras claimed that all things can be measured only by a man
Aristotle wowed his peers with planets in concentric spheres
Plato wrote some early blogs, published them as dialogues
Socrates’ only crime was asking questions all the time
But when accused refused to flee, stayed in Athens, drank the tea

Epicurus argued it was atoms made the human soul
Hegel held reality to be an all-inclusive whole
Saint Aquinas advocated natural theology
Saul of Tarsus changed his name and issued an apology
Comte was an altruist, at least according to the French
Nietzsche was acclaimed for Zarathustra and the Ubermensch
Here’s to Soren Kierkegaard, the early existentialist
Along with my apologies to those who didn’t make the list
Of 44 philosophers.

44 Philosophers


About a million years ago, Tim went to the University of California, Berkeley to study astrophysics. Things went a little sideways after he fell in with a crowd of jazz musicians, but Tim eventually graduated somehow with a degree in rhetoric. Decades later, it was noted that Tim had never written a song about his major; he accepted the challenge and found that he remembered just enough to fill a three-minute song. So here it is: everything Tim learned in four years, all in three minutes for you.

Academic standards addressed by this song:
This one is so obviously superficial as to be nearly useless for any substantive erudition, but it *might* help you avoid confusing one philosopher with another in a broad survey-type philosophy class. You'll still have to do the reading and pay attention in the lectures; but maybe this song will give your memory a little jog when you're trying to remember whether a particular idea is associated with, for example, Empedocles or Epicurus.

Chords: E, A, B. The lyrics are complex, but the guitar part is not.