Society of Fellows Big Thinkers — Day 1 Recap

Day one of the Big Thinkers Tournament is over, with half of the Round of 64 games in the books.

In the South region, early modern scientists dominated, with Galileo rolling over Emerson 88-42 and Newton out-calculating Epicurus 71-56.

In the East, Chomsky topped the higher ranked Locke 64-61, employing tight linguistic structures and surprisingly aggressive lefty politics. Montaigne couldn’t disturb the reflective equilibrium of Rawls, losing 68-56. And Nietzsche overpowered Benjamin in the biggest blowout of the day, 81-34. Meanwhile, a determined Spinoza barely survived a 59-58 squeaker with Confucius.

On to the Midwest, where we had a full slate of games. Top-seeded Plato easily out-thought Horkheimer 79-48. In a much anticipated match between eight and nine seeds, Wittgenstein employed his therapeutic approach to muffle the frantic neologisms of Heidegger, winning 84-72. Later, in a 20th Century French grudge match, twelfth seed Beauvoir upset fifth seed Derrida, winning 68-55. Meanwhile, Freud displaced Lacan 64-44, Einstein entangled Sartre 54-52, and Hegel synthesized Butler 65-54.

Finally, four games in the West region. Aquinas boldly insisted that you can step twice into the same river, drowning Heraclitus 64-58. Mill’s arguments proved of little utility against Durkheim, losing 73-55. Polymathic Leibniz relied on his unique no-interaction defense to puzzle Plotinus 81-64. But the big upset of the night belongs to forgotten Ivy Leaguer William James, who shocked the third ranked Hume. Hume, a powerful skeptic, had been on a roll leading into the tournament, and was picked by many to make it to the final four. But he simply couldn’t handle the quicker, more pragmatic offense of James. After a thrilling match that went down to the wire, William James moves on to the next round.

Today we have more Round of 64 matches on tap, including the first appearances of top seeds Aristotle and Marx.

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