Assuming you, dear reader, were asked to prepare a list of the 10 greatest philosophers produced by the British isles since the Norman Conquest.
Who would have to be on the list? We think of certain philosophers in clusters. For example, we think of the triad of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume at the heart of empiricism. But you may not want ALL of them on the list. There's so much ground to cover. If only one of them: which one?
Likewise, we think of Duns Scotus and Ockham as a pair, representing realism and nominalism respectively. But you might have to pick only one of them.
Or the great analytical philosophers of the early 20th century: they, too, come as a cluster. If you think of Moore, you also think of Russell. If you think of Russell, you also think of Whitehead. But ... only one?
The two great apologia for free speech in British history were those penned by Milton and Mill. Should we accordingly include both of those names? or only one? or neither?
I've just named ten names, all of men, and you might think I've surreptitiously created by top ten list already. But you'd be wrong. I've been talking about clusters. And I haven't mentioned women because the women one might put on such a list don't cluster. I think of Margaret Cavendish, Ada Lovelace, Philippa Foot, Iris Murdoch....
Many more names beg for inclusion. But so I won't be thought a tease, here is a defensible list of ten names, in chronological order:
St Anselm, Duns Scotus, Edward Coke, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, Margaret Cavendish, George Berkeley, G.E. Moore, Philippa Foot, Galen Strawson.