Philosophers as fruit and vegetables

A friend wrote to ask if we’d ever thought of philosophers as fruit and vegetables.  Well, no.

But then it occurred to me that a particular philosopher was an avocado; I think I was starting to fall asleep over a paper.  Hume is clearly a potato, I thought as I struggled awake, while Alison  Jagger is ginger, and Martha Nussbaum is salsify.  Jerry Fodor  is  an apricot.

If would be lovely if it took a  special neurological tangle to find philosophers so firmly associated with members of the vegetable kingdom, though that is surely unlikely.  Perhaps we could regard it anyway as a new aesthesia.  Combining “vegging out,” sofas and sophia, we could call it “sophaestheia” (cf synaesthesia).

Do you have quick and automatic associations of philosophers and fruits or veggies?  Please let us know.  I don’t want to be the only one on the net making such associations, especially when philosophy departments are getting shut down, philosophers put on suspension and so on.

And btw, John Searle is the avocado.


Salsify, sometimes called the  oyster plant, has a wonderful and graceful  taste.  I just looked it up to make sure I was in fact spelling it correctly when I saw that it  has been called quite non-elegant things.  I had no idea; it’s thin elegance is rather behind the association.

13 thoughts on “Philosophers as fruit and vegetables

  1. Does it have to be fruit and veg? Berkeley is tar water. Locke is bread and butter–good crusty white bread and fresh butter. I myself am ripe, smelly cheese–stilton I think.

  2. Wittgenstein is an artichoke, it occurs to me. Elizabeth Anscombe a blood orange.

    I love the idea of the coconut!

  3. Alison Gopnik is a dragonfruit, Leibniz is a custard apple, and Bob Stalnaker is an heirloom tomato.

    I’d like to think I’m a sugar pumpkin, but self-reports on these matters are notoriously unreliable.

  4. Of course I go well with Locke!!!–I know long passages from his personal identity stuff by heart! My oldest kid is John Locke Meyers Baber (Johns Hopkins PhD (Math) 2010. Yes–really!

    But please note: Leibniz is not custard apple: he is eggplant. (and Russell is red pepper)

  5. Michael X, I think that might be way too composite. Maybe he’s a cocoa bean? Or a cluster there of?

  6. Michel X, in that case Kant should be this eponymous cookie.

    (Incidentally, I associate one of my grad school mentors with delicious homemade ginger cookies, because he used to bake them and share them with the students.)

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