We see that Steiner's bias is heavily influenced by a Platonic word view. Hardly considered a bias when we are all sailing westward on this ship. Socrates is the captain and Plato is our faithful journalist and dramatist.
Now picture a ship sailing the seas of consciousness. This isn't an ordinary ship. This ship is THE deterministic vessel and contains all the thoughts, perceptions world views that determine George Steiner's book and authorship in Grammars of Creation. It’s important to point out that randomness and volition do play a part. How much so? That is the question.
Over half (53.37%) the referenced academic or cultural influencers were mentioned ten or more times and come directly from the book's Index. Thank you, George or more than likely the publisher for this.
The top ten most cited Giants are:
- Plato (384 BCE)
- Dante (1265 - 1321)
- Shakespeare (1565 - 1616)
- Heidegger (1889 - 1976)
- Hegel (1770 - 1831)
- Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC)
- Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951)
- Descartes (1596 - 1650)
- Kafka (1883 - 1924)
- Proust (1871 - 1922)
Re-ordered from oldest to newest and weighted within a Socratic-centric perspective (10 on a scale of 1-10), the remaining nine Giants compare as follows...
- Virgil - 3.7
- Dante - 8.9
- Descartes - 3.2
- Shakespeare - 8.9
- Hegel - 3.7
- Proust - 2.6
- Kafka - 3.2
- Wittgenstein - 3.2
- Heidegger - 5.3
Equals a 3.77 S&P Geometric Mean. Proust is pulling us down where Shakespeare and Dante are leading the pack. According to Socrates and Plato that is!
“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” - Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (Free Press, 1979, p. 39)
Whitehead went on to warn, “I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them. His personal endowments, his wide opportunities for experience at a great period of civilization, his inheritance of an intellectual tradition not yet stiffened by excessive systematization, have made his writing an inexhaustible mine of suggestion.”
Extracting any conclusions from this data would be highly speculative and not worth considering. The ratios, however, are very interesting and provide some insight into the book and Steiner as an author. I am also setting stage for further discussions.
From a deterministic standpoint, it would be ideal if we could pull out patterns in the data emulating fractals found in nature as in Ken Ono's 2011 discovery of the first finite formula to calculate the infinitely repeating partition superstructure. If we postulate that our psychology and subsequent actions are a summation of all influences, past, and present we need more data. It is a force, a massive force worth acknowledging but perhaps unattainable? The thinking is that we don’t need all the data, just as much as possible.