"The greatest philosopher of the twentieth century may not have been Wittgenstein, or Russell (and he certainly wasn't Heidegger)
but he may have been a somewhat obscure and conservative Australian
philosopher named David Stove (1927-94). If he wasn't the greatest
philosopher of the century, Stove was certainly the funniest and
most dazzling defender of common sense . . ."
For a quick taste of his style, try his one-page
'Helps for young authors', from Popper and After.
Brief accounts of his life and opinions can be found in an
obituary , in Scott Campbell's
Wikipedia article and in Roger Kimball's essay,
'Who was David Stove?'.
The story of his role in the political troubles in Sydney University
Philosophy Department in the 1970s is told in
His books are
Probability and Hume's Inductive Scepticism
(argues that Hume's scepticism about induction depends on
the false thesis that all logic is deductive)
Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists
reprinted as Anything Goes (Macleay
Press, 1998) and
Scientific Irrationalism: Origins of a Postmodern Cult
(Transaction, 2000) (mocks the irrationalist views on science of Popper, Kuhn,
Lakatos and Feyerabend, and attributes those errors to their following
Hume in thinking all logic is deductive) (See Keith Windschuttle's
introduction to the Macleay Press edition; a a review; some
The Rationality of Induction (Clarendon, 1986)
(revives D.C. Williams' justification of induction relying on
the fact that the vast majority of samples of a population
match the population in composition) (a review)
The Plato Cult and Other Philosophical Follies
(essays on idealist and other errors in philosophy)
The chapter 'What is wrong with our thoughts?';
Cricket Versus Republicanism and Other Essays, ed. J. Franklin and
R. Stove (Quakers Hill Press, 1995)
(collected polemical essays on such themes as race, the decline
of arts faculties, Australian heroes, the intellectual capacity
of women) ... buy online
Darwinian Fairytales (Avebury, 1996)
(attacks sociobiology and Darwinian "explanations" of human altruism)
(Reprint from Encounter Books with new introduction by Roger Kimball, 2006)
Joe Sobran's column, 2006; a summary; review; another; another; 2008 article.
Against the Idols of the Age, ed. R. Kimball (Transaction, 1999)
(collected essays on philosophy of science, the errors of Darwinism,
race and women)
On Enlightenment, ed.
What's Wrong With Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property and the Limits of Enlightenment, ed.
(Encounter Books, 2011). (Amazon) ... review ... another ... another ... another ...
Some of David Stove's articles available online
Why have philosophers? Quadrant, 1985.
What is wrong with our thoughts? The Plato Cult, 1991.
A farewell to Arts Quadrant, 1986 (In Hebrew).
The intellectual capacity of women, Proc. Russellian Soc., 1990.
Cricket versus republicanism Quadrant, 1977.
The Velikovsky story: the scientific mafia
The question about Parvus (1991).
A new religion,
So you think you are a Darwinian?
Philosophy, 1994 (with a
A competition to find the worst argument in the world, 1985
Karl Popper and the Jazz Age, Encounter June 1985.
The oracles and their cessation: a tribute to Julian Jaynes, Encounter Apr 1989.
The diabolical place: a secret of the Enlightenment, Encounter May 1990.
O Pioneers ... Encounter June 1990.
The Columbus argument (in Portuguese)
The force of intellect (on John Anderson), 1977
Bertrand Russell, Andersonian, 1960
bibliography (up to 2000) is available of Stove's writings and reactions
An account by Rob Stove of David Stove and music.
There is a
David Stove email group.
'Stove's discovery of the worst argument in the world',
Philosophy 77 (2002): 615-24.
J. Franklin, 'Stove's anti-Darwinism', Philosophy 72 (1997): 133-6.
B.J. Coman, 'The New Relevance of David Stove's Critique of Darwinism', Quadrant 52 (3) (Mar 2008): 58-62.
Stove's work on induction has been continued by
Scott Campbell of Nottingham University.
James Franklin's book,
The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal
is a Stovian view on the history of probability: it sees the subject
in terms of logical probability rather than random processes like dice-throwing.
James Franklin's book,
Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia
has much about Stove.
The same point of view informs Keith
Windschuttle's defence of
the objectivity of historical evidence,
The Killing of History.
And on something earlier,
'The evils of
inductive skepticism', by Donald Cary Williams, whom Stove much admired.
|Of related interest, the website on Stove's teacher in philosophy,
son of David Stove; his website,
with information on his articles and his book The Unsleeping Eye: A Brief History of Secret
Police and Their Victims.
|For contemporary comment,
The New Criterion and
Arts & Letters Daily are recommended.
|For further information, contact David Stove's literary executor,
This site created by James Franklin with help from