Last week, Greg Cochran pointed out that it isn’t quite right to speak of the quartet of Freud and Marx and Darwin and Einstein together as the guiding spirits of the twentieth century, as Einstein didn’t really contribute the same way.
You can see this even if you just do a lazy Google nGram. But Einstein clearly didn’t contribute to the general intellectual climate like Marx and Darwin did.
But just today, I came across an instance of Scott Locklin complaining about Einstein cropping up in a 1988 probability paper:
This is pretty funny, but also pretty niche, unlike this other article I saw today, aimed at a more general audience that cited Marx and Darwin and Freud all in one paragraph:
Generic citations like these aren’t of much real value for understanding anything in a useful way, but they are just part of the general intellectual climate, or perhaps the mental furniture, almost everyone has.