The Top 100 Public Intellectuals? Top 5?
"As far as I have been able to determine, the word “intellectual” was popularised as a term of abuse during the Dreyfus affair. The coinage then suggested that the pro-Dreyfus faction was insufficiently rooted in nation and loyalty, preferring as they did the urbane abstractions of “the intellect” to the verities of church and soil. I personally hope the word never quite loses this association with the subversive." ~ Christopher Hitchens
"Candidates must be living and still active in public life. They must have shown distinction in their particular field as well as an ability to influence wider debate, often far beyond the borders of their own country."You can find the list of the top 100 here. The opening passage is from an essay by Hitchens that accompanies the list and invitation to vote. I have not and will not vote because it seems to me that you cannot determine the worth of ideas I think the the worth of ideas by majority vote. Their value and robustness emerge from being examined and actively contested in debate and, then, in practice. Public intellectuals are interesting only insofar as they articulate ideas.
Three individuals not on the list that spring immediately to my mind are Adam Michnik, Arundhati Roy, and Roberto Mangabeira Unger. Any other suggestions?