If you didn’t notice, Massimo Piggliuci started some new experiment in the blogosphere. He is publishing his new book “The Nature of Philosophy: How Philosophy Makes Progress and Why It Matters” in a series on his blog Plato’s Footnote. You can find the entry post here.
In the last post I read he published an interesting graphic that illustrates the influences of different philosophers. He writes about that graphic:
In what follows I enlisted the help of Simon Raper, a contributor to “Drunks&Lampposts.” Simon was as curious as I to figure out whether there is quantitative evidence of the much-talked about differences and relationships among various schools of (largely Western, in this case) philosophy. So he enlisted two 21st century resources in a particularly ingenious fashion. First, he downloaded a file containing all the “influenced by” links for every philosopher listed on Wikipedia.  He then used a program called Gephi, an open software graphing platform, to visualize the influences among philosophers in the form of a network with the size of individual entries (say, for Aristotle) proportional to how many connections to other philosophers they have. Finally, Simon was able to provisionally identify different “schools” of thought by asking the program to depict in different colors groups of people whose within-cluster connections were significantly stronger than the connections to other groups. (If this sounds a lot like the Digital Humanities, it’s because it is. But let’s wait until later in the book to debate the pros and cons of the particular approach.)
This is the graphic:
You can find some more zoomed in pictures in the original blog post. Of cause there are some methodological difficutlies, as many commentators have remarked. But still you can see that there is a split between a tradition ranging from Hegel and Nietzsche and a tradition that has its offspring in Hume, Locke and Mill. But you can also see that there there is a field of connections of the traditions, especially if you consider the node of Kant.
I think that is very intersting. If you develop a methodological more rigorous study it would be a piece of empirical metaphilosophy. But even in this rudimentary form you can see the differences in the tradition and possible lines to overcome it.
Edit: Here you can find the original article by Simon Raper: Graphing the history of Philosophy.
And if this is not enough for you, here you can find a Graph by Brenden Griffen which includes a lot more thinkers that have articles on Wikipedia: Graphs of Wikipedia: Influential thinkers.