Visual Representation of Philosophers’ Significance and Influence

My colleagues Marian Dörk and Sheelagh Carpendale over in the Computer Science department have taken data on philosophers from Freebase as a test case for their EdgeMaps visualization project.

Freebase provides data about interests, professions, birthdates, influence connections, and other relations from Wikipedia. For the purpose of this paper, we have constrained the dataset to philosophers that influenced at least one other philosopher, resulting in 42 philosophers. For each philosopher we store the name, birthdate, description, an image, interests, and professions. Furthermore, we store the directed influence links between philosophers.

Go to the EdgeMaps page, click on the "open demo" button, and explore. The button in the top left switches between a timeline view and an influence "yarnball".Of course, the map is only as good as the data that went in–see the example of Frege below which is missing a big fat influence arrow coming from Kant!–but still, very cool!

EdgeMap of Frege

One thought on “Visual Representation of Philosophers’ Significance and Influence

  1. I noticed that Russell does not show up. He is an important influence on Wittgenstein, Carnap, Quine…. etc… In fact I would cut out Whitehead, his only influential work is the PM and the philosophical parts of that Russell wrote.

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