Bruces' Philosophers Song (Bruces' Song) was a popular Monty Python song written by Eric Idle, a feature of the group's stage appearances as well as of its recordings, and ostensibly rendered by a number of Australian university lecturers. They were all called Bruce and taught at the University of Woolloomooloo. (Woolloomooloo is an inner suburb of Sydney. There is actually no university there, though the real-life Sydney University is not far away.) Although the Bruces sketch previously appeared in the TV show Monty Python's Flying Circus, the song itself was original to the stage show.
The song's lyrics make a series of scurrilous allegations against a number of highly respected philosophers, usually with regard to their capacity or incapacity for imbibing intoxicating liquors.
For a long time, opinion has been divided as to whether the sixth line is "Schopenhauer and Hegel" or just "Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel". However, the publication of the lyrics with the release of Monty Python Sings clarifies this to Hegel as the "official" lyrics. The reason for the confusion was that early versions of the song played live (included in the Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl film and on the albums Live at Drury Lane and Live at City Center) had the "Schopenhauer and Hegel" version.
All the thinkers whom the song mentions were dead by the time it appeared, apart from Martin Heidegger. Since Heidegger lived until 1976, the intriguing possibility remains that he might have learnt of the sketch's existence.
Philosophers mentioned in the song (in order):
- Immanuel Kant
- Martin Heidegger
- David Hume
- Arthur Schopenhauer (disputed)
- G.W.F. Hegel
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Socrates (the only one mentioned twice in the song)
- John Stuart Mill
- Thomas Hobbes
- René Descartes
Immanuel Kant was a real piss-ant who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.
There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach 'ya 'bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.
John Stuart Mill, of his own free will, after half a pint of shanty was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away, half a crate of whiskey every day!
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
And Hobbes was fond of his Dram.
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart: 'I drink, therefore I am.'
Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.
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