So this is totally a "just for fun" post. As you might have noticed from all the blogging I've done about rearranging computers, switching to Linux and getting a new phone, the second half of 2008 has had a lot of computer acquisitions and changes. I try to thematically name computers/partitions and hard drives, and I've been through a couple of naming schemes, but I have a new one that I kind of like: Great names in western philosophy.

Now technically, the best name schemes for networked computers are groups of related nouns. So in a big network, you'd have printers named after flowers (violet, daisy, petunia) and laptops named after sheep (merino, finn, coopworth, jacob) and desktops named after crops (corn, wheat, soybean, tobacco) say. Actually these are pretty bad choices, but choosing common, inoffensive, and generic nouns is probably idea. This way, if you're browsing a network you can tell what things are pretty quickly, and you won't run out of names and have to have more than one system.

So knowing that drawing every name from the same pool is probably the wrong thing to do, here's the list of my little collection.

  • Leibniz: the desktop
  • Spinoza: cellphone/blackberry
  • Hegel: the ThinkPad
  • Levi-Strauss: the wireless access point.
  • Deleuze: the linux partition of the macbook
  • Guatteri: the OS X partition of the macbook

My knowledge of modern and 19th century philosophy is way more limited and touch and go than my knowledge of 20th century. You could of course make the argument that Levi-Strauss was more of an anthropologist than a philosopher, but I tend to cast a pretty big net, and think that Clifford Gertz would even qualify for the list too. I suppose that I could have made had laptops be German philosophers, and desktop be French philosophers; or I could have divided it up by centuries. Anyway, it's fun, and here's a list of possible names for future gear:

  • Gertz
  • Derrida
  • Spivak
  • Marx/Engels
  • Ricoeur
  • Foucault
  • Kierkegaard

You'll notice that I didn't include Nietzsche on the list. I think it's poor planning to name a computer (or anything) after someone whose known for being crazy. I include Foucault out of personal fondness, but have avoided other neo-Marxists, though I suppose that would open things up to Gramsci and Althusser (if he hadn't gone crazy) or Merleau-Ponty (but I never spell that one right on the first go).

Other suggestions of favorite philosophers are of course welcome.

Do you have a naming scheme? If so, what is it?