According to Leiter Reports, the most important English-language world epistemologists since 1945 have been:
|. W.V.O. Quine (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)|
|2. Alvin Goldman loses to W.V.O. Quine by 131–100|
|3. Roderick Chisholm loses to W.V.O. Quine by 145–90, loses to Alvin Goldman by 117–90|
|4. Wilfrid Sellars loses to W.V.O. Quine by 142–80, loses to Roderick Chisholm by 110–106|
|5. Timothy Williamson loses to W.V.O. Quine by 148–100, loses to Wilfrid Sellars by 122–118|
|6. Ernest Sosa loses to W.V.O. Quine by 152–95, loses to Timothy Williamson by 123–107|
Fred Dretske loses to W.V.O. Quine by 156–78, loses to Ernest Sosa by 121–90
Edmund Gettier loses to W.V.O. Quine by 160–78, loses to Ernest Sosa by 114–105
|9. Donald Davidson loses to W.V.O. Quine by 158–53, loses to Fred Dretske by 120–93|
|10. William Alston loses to W.V.O. Quine by 164–70, loses to Donald Davidson by 99–96|
Laurence BonJour loses to W.V.O. Quine by 164–64, loses to William Alston by 88–82
Nelson Goodman loses to W.V.O. Quine by 163–50, loses to William Alston by 98–96
|13. Robert Nozick loses to W.V.O. Quine by 169–52, loses to Laurence BonJour by 102–90|
|14. Gilbert Harman loses to W.V.O. Quine by 176–41, loses to Robert Nozick by 94–90|
|15. John McDowell loses to W.V.O. Quine by 168–58, loses to Gilbert Harman by 95–89|
|16. Tyler Burge loses to W.V.O. Quine by 170–49, loses to John McDowell by 91–88|
|17. Alvin Plantinga loses to W.V.O. Quine by 173–62, loses to Tyler Burge by 99–73|
|18. Barry Stroud loses to W.V.O. Quine by 173–39, loses to Alvin Plantinga by 95–78|
|19. Keith Lehrer loses to W.V.O. Quine by 175–42, loses to Barry Stroud by 81–78|
|20. Crispin Wright loses to W.V.O. Quine by 183–34, loses to Keith Lehrer by 84–76|
|21. Keith DeRose loses to W.V.O. Quine by 179–41, loses to Crispin Wright by 82–78|
|22. Robert Audi loses to W.V.O. Quine by 176–42, loses to Keith DeRose by 81–72|
|23. David Armstrong loses to W.V.O. Quine by 179–28, loses to Robert Audi by 70–67|
|24. Paul Boghossian loses to W.V.O. Quine by 179–40, loses to David Armstrong by 74–66|
|25. Richard Feldman loses to W.V.O. Quine by 175–47, loses to Paul Boghossian by 75–72|
|26. Philip Kitcher loses to W.V.O. Quine by 176–33, loses to Richard Feldman by 74–72|
I'm afraid some of these names don't mean anything to me at all, and that is true even of some of them fairly high up on the list. If I am going to run a blog with the name of this blog, I ought to do a better job keeping track. Timothy Williamson, Crispin Wright. Paul Boghossian? Not even names to me.
Ernest Sosa, John McDowell, Tyler Burge, on the other hand, ARE all names to me, but only that. I couldn't give a coherent explanation of the context in which I discovered them.
Some names on this list have an appropriate prominence in my own mental inventory. Quine, of course. Nozick. Plantinga/ Armstrong. Check, Check, and Check.
But in essence the list tells me I have work to do. Let's get started with those three names that meant nothing. I'll run down something quick on each of them.
Timothy Williamson: known for taking knowledge as a primitive term. This is one way of responding to Gettier problems. Knowledge is a primitive notion, requiring no definition, and other notions, such as truth and belief, should be defined with reference to knowledge, not vice versa.
Crispin Wright: Associated with neo-Fregeanism, a/k/a neo-logicism in the philosophy of mathematics. Frege tried to derive arithmetic from logic. His views are often thought to have been buried by Russell, Russell's barber, and/or Godel. But Wright and some others have dusted them off.
Paul Boghossian: Author of Fear of Knowledge (2006). a blast against Rorty, relativism, and constructivism. (Why is Rorty not on the list?).
So now I know that much, anyway.