Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” issued in November 1859, was ranked first on an online poll about the most important academic papers of all time. The online poll was organized by the British Library and the British Council for the Arts and Classical Studies. The English scientist’s work won with 26% of votes.
The online poll also showcased the “Republic” by ancient Greek philosopher Plato, which occupied fourth place for its contribution to the academic community.
Specifically, the five most important academic works of all time, according to the British poll are “One the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin, “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” “Republic” by Plato and “Critique of Pure Reason” by German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
Other academic papers included in the voting poll were: “The Meaning of Relativity” by Albert Einstein, “The Second Sex” of Simone de Beauvoir, “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli, “1984” by George Orwell and “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking.
Republic is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice, the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. It is Plato’s best-known work and it has proven to be one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.
In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man. The participants also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society.