The Philosopher Games: Who would win in a knife fight between all the philosophers?

Round One: The Initial Bloodshed

This is by far the most chaotic and least philosophical of the rounds, mostly determined by the ability of each (wo)man’s individual philosophy to either permit murdering each other or cope with absolute chaos.

All the philosophers line up in a giant circle in the central part of the battleground, which is a great circular field. They are arranged according to their date of birth, from Thales to McIntyr in a giant clockwise circle. On every side of the field is forest. This is the venue of today’s fight.

The horn goes off signifying the start of the battle. In the first few seconds, many lives are taken in the immediate struggle. Some philosophers are quick to take lives, and others are unable to react properly to the situation.

The first one dead is Epicurus, who is sitting absently in the grass and twiddling his thumbs. Lucretius sees Empedocles bearing down on the idle epicurean, and he runs to help him out. He is too late, and in a matter of seconds Epicurus is dead. Mad with love for the dead Epicurus, he turns and punctures Boethius lung. Boethius lies in the grass and dies peacefully. Derrida sees all the bloodshed and enters a deep state of nihilism. He turns and stabs Popper.

St. Jerome tries to get St. Ambrose and Origen to flee into the wilderness. Meanwhile, Marcus Aurelius and Sun Tzu are both bearing down on the peaceful Christians. St. Ambrose makes a sign of the cross starts preaching against the violence, but is cut down my Marcus Aurelius, who hates Christians. Sun Tzu cuts down Origen before Jerome can get him out. Jerome escapes into the woods. Marcus Aurelius and Sun Tzu meet in the middle. They attack each other, but neither one is wounded. They move on to other targets.

Al-Ghazali attacks Averroes with a whirling blade. Averroes is wounded but not killed. He limps off to find shelter with Aristotle. St. Bonaventure kneels down and starts praying. Galileo runs at him, shouting and red-faced, and stabs him in the heart. Spinoza does not know what to do. He looks left and right, and then finds himself stabbed by several people at once. It’s not clear who killed him, but chances are it was Heidegger, Marx, Schopenhauer, or Calvin. Berkeley the daydreamer is killed by Pierce, who figures he might as well make the best of this open opportunity (one less opponent for him to worry about). And when Marx turns and sees poor Adam Smith muttering to himself, he cannot contain his rage. He vents his hatred for capitalism on the sniffling little Smith.

Leibniz forgets the fact that he is trapped in his own God-made monad long enough to go for Newton’s throat, with a shout of ‘I invented calculus!’ Newton freaks out and starts weeping in the middle of the battlefield, but luckily Leibniz trips over his own robe, breaks a heel, and gets his knife caught in his wig. He falls down next to Newton and can’t get up. Meanwhile, Quine the strategist tries to sneak up on Wittgenstein, but the decorated war hero is too perceptive and at the last minute turns and takes Quine out.

Confucius backs out of the battleground into the shadows of the trees to survey the battlefield. Rousseau and Diderot fight in “back-to-back mode” and slowly inch toward the woods as they fend off potential enemies. Thoreau immediately takes off into the wilderness, but not before collecting knives off corpses for later use.

Erasmus takes a while to get warmed up, but soon he starts defending himself against attacks with pedagogical screams of fury. Copernicus tries to slink away from battle to find some alone time. Erasmus thinks he is trying to sneak up on him, and promptly dispatches of the timid astronomer. C. S. Lewis runs to Chesterton, who is singing a battle hymn and swinging his knife like a broadsword to fend back his would-be enemies. Russell unsuspectingly walks right into one of Chesterton’s swings and dies. His friend G. E. Moore sees this happen and becomes infuriated. Hume, meanwhile, calms his terrorized nerves when he sees the strong presence of Locke crossing the battlefield like Washington across the Delaware. He huffs over to Locke and tries to get the man’s attention long enough to offer him a sip of brandy and a truce. Locke is distracted by fending off Kant and Hegel.

Francis Bacon goes to join his ancestor Roger Bacon, but Machiavelli pops up and kills the older Bacon and flees into the woods. William of Ockham runs from battle wetting his pants, and practically runs right into Machiavelli’s blade. John Duns Scotus faints, goes into a coma, and is left for dead. Nietzsche runs across the battlefield. He spots Maimonides, recognizes him for a Jew, and kills him. Pope John Paul II gets Stein and Husserl off the battlefield in order to keep them away for Nietzsche, Heidegger, Schopenhauer, Calvin, or any other potential Jew killer.

Pascal and Descartes back up toward the woods. Pascal sees Descartes and pulls out his coin. ‘Which way will you wager?’ he asks. ‘I do not wager. I only rely on what I can know clearly and distinctly,’ said Descartes. ‘Tell me,’ says Pascal as his knife goes into Descartes‘ abdomen, ‘is this clear and distinct enough for you?’

The two Mills and Bentham immediately huddle together and form a trio of Utilitarians. Comte joins them. They have safety in numbers and are not attacked.

McIntyr runs around the perimeter of the battlefield, calmly looking for Aristotle.

As the initial violence begins to register with people, a few small groups begin to form. Socrates immediately pulls Plato and Aristotle out of the fray into the forest and begins to question them about the best way to survive the battle virtuously. The surviving scholastics begin to gravitate toward Aquinas, who has remained untouched so far. Thales stands unafraid in the Greek quarter and rallies Anaximander, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Democritus, and Anaxagoras to him. Parmenides, Zeno, and Gorgias try to join Thales, but Heraclitus won’t let them and kills his enemy Parmenides. Zeno retaliates, and ends up stabbing Democritus. Zeno gets out before Thales can kill him, and joins up with Gorgias, who is the only Greek left without an alliance other than the creepy Pythagoras and Empedocles, who seem to be drawing magical symbols in the dirt.

Thales orders his possy to attack the cultists Pythagoras and Empedocles. Anaxagoras is eager to please Thales and jumps forward to attack, but he is hypnotized into submission by Empedocles and sacrificed to the gods by Pythagoras. Thales’ possy is intimidated, so they back away despite Thales’ insistent orders to charge.

Somewhere in all the chaos John the Evangelist levitated off into the sunset. Buddha was last seen gliding toward the forest before he disappeared in a flash of nirvana.

End Round 1.


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