march madness philosophy featured

March Madness: The Overrated Philosophers Bracket

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Update: The first round is over, check out the round of 32 here

March Madness is a special time of the year for sports fan, as 68 of the best college basketball teams go head to head for 3 weeks in one of the world’s last bastions of legally sanctioned slavery. While the NCAA’s March Madness tournament will pull in over $1 billion in ad revenue, fellow philosophers and mal-adjusted intellectual types will mostly look on as confusion as frat boys yell and scream at barroom televisions.

In the spirit of March Madness, we present our own bracket, to determine once and for all who is the most overrated philosopher. It’s like the opposite of a regular bracket, because when philosophers win, they lose.

Please note, inclusion on the initial match-ups are not indicative of which philosophers are, in fact, overrated. That is for democracy to decide.

So how does it work? Below are all the initial pair-ups. You vote, and the winners make it to the next round of competition. At the end, we will hopefully have discovered who is the most overrated philosopher of all.


































  • Tyler Michael

    Zizek, Plato, Chomsky, Hegel are going to be the F4

  • glasspopcorn

    my final four picks: baudrillard, plato, butler, heidegger

  • failedinterlectual

    Final four: Zizek, Heidegger, Habermas and Plato.

    • slev09

      Final four: Zizek, Zizek, Zizek, Zizek.

      do think Heidegger and Habermas have potential, but Plato’s philosophies have real value and are very expansive an influential in a way none of these guys are. Plus, Aristotle is 90% as talked about as Plato but only 10% the philosopher (I don’t get people)

      • failedinterlectual

        Zizek is my best guess. I mean, if there’s any justice in the world, Zizek will be the most overrated.

        However, I can’t imagine many philosophers more overrated than the person to whom the rest of Western Philosophy is nothing but a footnote.

  • John_Emerson

    You should have seedings and random matchups, not feminist against feminist etc.

    And I guess you think that no pragmatist is overrated. I would agree.

    • Critical Theory

      I’m open to criticism on this – I’ve never made a bracket, let alone watched March Madness before. I know they organize their brackets by region, so I loosely try to base this bracket off of that.

      • John_Emerson

        Hardly a big deal, I’m a quibbler. carry on.

  • ChrisU

    glad to see David Harvey seems safe.

  • ohitsjustdan

    You’re missing the Agamben/Schmitt matchup in the voting list!

    • Critical Theory

      Whoops, fixed.

  • Dyspepsie des Synapses

    what’s this bullshit? even a horoscope or a tomato mozzarella sandwich tutorial would’ve been less lame.

    • http://twitter.com/rebeccavfl Rebecca

      I think this is hilarious, but then again I like horoscopes and tomato mozzarella sandwiches

  • vantz

    Wait-a-minute, where are all our beloved analytical chatterboxes? Are not worth a bullet? I wanna vote for Searle vs. Quine and for Popper vs. Carnap!

  • friar_zero

    Can we get a copy of this bracket without the section headers? I want to fill out my own projections and share it with some friends.

  • http://twitter.com/rebeccavfl Rebecca

    My final four: Zizek, Plato, Chomsky, Adorno

  • Connor Syrewicz

    F4: Butler, Hegel, Zizek, and Kant … (Baudrillard, Chomsky, Locke/ Hobbes, Mill/ Rousseau, and Plato all worry me though…I can’t beleive Mill is beating Rousseau! At least Mill had something like proto-feminist and abolitionist points of view and ‘On Bentham and Coleridge’–even if ulilitarianism is bunk. All Rousseau had the racist/ sexist beginnings of sociology, the theory of natural rights, and the social contract–all completely overrated concepts!)

    • slev09

      Since you definitely get this shit and since we agree on most of the overrated ones, why Plato? At least within his matchup of Aristotle, I see Aristotle is much more overrated

      • Connor Syrewicz

        Well this question deserves a lot more time than I am willing to give in a comment. But for me, the issue comes down to the concept of Form. Aristotle actually begins the critique of Forms by pointing out one of the most central issues with any theory of morphogenesis which transcendentalizes, or externalizes Form: change. If a Form exists externally to the matter which is being enndowed with Form, how can change and novelty arise?

        Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to reduce a lot of philosophy to one unstable (since the Plato’s views on Form seem to change throughout his work) and tentatively asserted concept. Likewise, there is a lot of love about Plato! Socrates’ negative method is freaking hilarious, at times, and can be read, in my opinion, as a treatise on humility, the risks and pitfalls of cockssure (as Bertrand Russell puts it), and, most importantly, the first critical epistemology.

        But, I think that the notion of Form has survived Plato (despite many translations, reconfigurations, permutations, etc.) and continues to plague European philosophy to this day. I think t hat Form (and all variations thereof) tend to transcendentalize extensive similarity while overlooking the intensive differences

  • http://cosmostheinlost.com/ Artur Sebastian Rosman

    Please help Judith Butler win! She desperately, but imperiously, needs your vote:

    http://cosmostheinlost.com/2014/01/25/what-if-judith-butler-was-ockhams-god/

  • Evalena Grassdottir

    the pleasure taken in deeming idols “overrated” is certainly a cause for questioning. thank you.

  • nebel

    When do we move to the next rounds?!

  • Eilis Monahan

    Didn’t Deleuze and Guattari write their most influential work together?? What am I supposed to do, flip a coin?

    • Connor Syrewicz

      This question proves why Guattari is amazingly overrated.