If Famous Philosophers Were Your Friends

If Famous Philosophers Were Your Friends

Ever wanted to shoe shop with Schopenhauer? Holiday with Heidegger?

Here are eight famous philosophers from The Story of Philosophy, reimagined as your friends.

1. Aristotle


When you ask why he didn’t show up to your party, he says there are four causes, four reasons for this thing being as it is. These are the material cause, the efficient cause, the formal cause, and the final cause. Let us take his example of a marble statue…

You walk away.

2. Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

He overhears you talking about the great value at the local supermarket, and launches into a spiel about our attachment to values that derive largely from ancient Greece and the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and how we must either find a new basis that we believe in to support our values, or else abandon these values and find others that we can honestly espouse.

Not as much of a downer as everyone makes him out to be. Just please don’t mention the horse.

3. René Descartes

René Descartes

When you go to see a 3D movie, he says this is a great opportunity to consider a favorite thought experiment of his, and did we ever consider that perhaps there could be a malicious demon whose sole aim is to deceive us, and who can exercise superhuman power over us, can make us sleep and then dream vividly that we are awake, or make everything we look at look to us like something else? Is there anything at all about which even a malignant spirit such as this would be unable to deceive us?

He doesn’t stop talking about the “pursuit of certainty” the whole way through the movie. Popcorn is thrown.

"I think therefore I am" - Rene Descartes

4. Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

When eating lunch together, she successfully persuades you that her salad is socially constructed as Other, and encourages you to participate in a moral revolution in which you give her your cheese pizza.

She eats your entire pizza. You are left in awe and respect.

5. Plato


He often spams the group chat with a philosophical dialogue in which the protagonist is always Socrates, quizzing everyone about the basic concepts of morals and politics. He’ll claim this is in the interest of furthering knowledge through debate and criticism (but you were just trying to make dinner plans).

"Everything is becoming, nothing is" - Plato

6. Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes

He says that physical matter is all there is, and that everything can be explained in terms of matter and motion. But nothing can explain his dance moves.

"I am about to take my last voyage..." - Thomas Hobbes

7. John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill

You tell him you have to go to a party “because your friend is making you”. He writes an entire book defending the freedom of the individual against social and political control.

"Over himself, over his own body..." - John Stuart Mill

8. Karl Marx
Karl Marx


He texts you after a long day at work and asks, “So how alienated do u feel from the products of ur labor?”


Let's be honest: these friends won't help you get serious about philosophy. Luckily, we've got a great book that will. The Story of Philosophy is the ultimate exploration of 2,500 years of Western philosophy. Professor Bryan Magee takes you from the origins of philosophy to the present day, from Plato to Popper and into the future. 

Buy the book

Buy the book

The Story of Philosophy The Story of Philosophy

Now updated and with a fresh new look, the highly successful The Story of Philosophy traces more than 2,500 Read more

Now updated and with a fresh Read more


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