The proper response to a list of anything –most influential, best, whatever– is not to become angry because you disagree with it.
At their best, these lists are a chance to learn about things that lie beyond your usual area of familiarity.
For example, some years ago I ran across a “100 Greatest Novels of All Time” list. There are lots of those floating around, but this one looked more serious than most, despite its evident flaws (too Anglocentric, not enough French authors). For me, the novels on that list fell into three categories. (1) Novels I had already read. (2) Novels I knew about but had not gotten around to reading. (3) Novels I had previously never even heard of. So I set myself the task of reading all 100, which will probably take a few more years to complete. And, some of the novels on the list do seem overrated or boring. And others, not on the list, would be ones I rank higher.
But that’s not the point. The point is, that list opened my eyes to the existence of some things that I might never have read otherwise, simply because I’m trapped in my own head to some extent just like everyone else is trapped in their own heads to some extent.
I feel the same way about those “100 Places to see Before You Die” sorts of lists. They’re usually reasonably good, somewhat arbitrary, but invaluable in getting you out of your usual travel rut.
In the same spirit was my reaction to the “50 Most Influential Philosophers” list. There were some analytic philosophers on the list whose work I’ve never read, but that was a reminder to read the ones I haven’t. And there were even some people I’ve never heard of on the list, and that’s a good inducement to read them as well.
Reciprocally, I would feel very happy if some of the analytic philosophers on the list decided to give my work a try, though it’s extremely unlikely that some of them would read a “continental” otherwise. What they will find, I think, is that my work is not that of a “charlatan.” In fact, my first book Tool-Being was only published (after about 13 rejections, I think) because of a strong recommendation by one of the most hardball analytic philosophers on the 50 Most Influential list.
But so far, I’ve been disappointed to see Leiter and his favorite suck-ups in cyberspace circling the wagons against a non-existent threat. If analytic philosophers read my work (as Jon Cogburn has so thoroughly done), they may find that it takes awhile to get used to the style –though I think it will grow on them– but ultimately there will be plenty of material for a conversation. Leiter’s belching at the end of the table ought to be ignored so that the conversation may continue.