The most important works in 20th century philosophy

Here are two lists based on philosopher Douglas Lackey’s 1999 survey of philosophers. The results were published in The Philosophical Forum.

Interesting that the full lists are dominated by works in epistemology. Metaphysics and ethics are less represented by a significant margin.

The top ten books cited:
wittgenstein1. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations [179 citations]
2. Heidegger, Being and Time [134]
3. Rawls, A Theory of Justice [131]
4. Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [77]
5. Russell & Whitehead, Principia Mathematica [64]
6. Quine, Word and Object [63]
7. Kripke, Naming and Necessity [56]
8. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [51]
9. Sartre, Being and Nothingness [38]
10. Whitehead, Process and Reality [34]

The top ten articles cited:
willard_van_orman_quine1. Quine, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” [131 citations]
2. Russell, “On Denoting” [85]
3. Godel, “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Other Systems” [40]
4. Tarski, “The Concept of Truth” [39]
5. Sellars, “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” [37]
6. Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” [26]
7. Putnam, “The Meaning of Meaning” [22]
8. Thomson, “A Defense of Abortion” [22]
9. Kripke, “Naming and Necessity” [20]
10. Moore, “A Defense of Common Sense” [18]

Also interesting that the top book and article are neo-pragmatist. What results would a new survey generate, now that we are well into the next century?

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