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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Who is your favorite philosopher?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (18852 points ) January 5th, 2010

Preferably, I’d like answers from people who are at least somewhat familiar with the beliefs/ideas of more than two philosophers. Otherwise, how can you have a favorite, right?

Will you quote something your favorite philosopher has said? What is the main reason this philosopher is so appealing for you?

I ask because I’m interested in learning about even more philosophers, so I’m hoping certain quotes might catch my eye. I could Google this, but that’s boring. I seek the opinions of this specific collective. Thanks.

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40 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

Bill Waterson.

I’d quote something, but you just gotta see it yourself.

peedub's avatar

I like Jung. The Collective Unconscious and Synchronicity are two theories I find interesting.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I like Foucalt and Baudrillard and Hegel and Julia Kristeva and Boris Groys – too many to list, really…but I like this quote by Baudrillard
It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.
Oh and I love Robert Pirsig’s work.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I can’t say Pascal is my favorite philosopher exactly, it hard to really pick, but he has some quotes I love:

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.”
“All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.”
“If all men knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world.”
“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”
“I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

and of course for his famous wager, if for no other reason than all the argument’s it’s since spawned.

jangles's avatar

Friedrich Nietzsche. Although i do not agree entirely with everything that he has said, I find most of his writings to be more entertaining than almost any other philosopher I’ve ever read. Also I find it most admirable how he stood up to 19th century European religion and I think that his writting empowered many Europeans to be skeptic.

Even though many of his idea’s were used as philosophical ideas for Nazism, I think they took much of what he wrote and distorted the moral meanings behind them.

frdelrosario's avatar

Bob Dylan.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Richard Feynman. Yes, I know he was a physicist, but he also wrote about his philosophies of life and science. He was wonderfully quirky. I think his philosophy can be summed up by one of his book titles: “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”

hug_of_war's avatar

Kierkegaard. It was like all these things I’d thought all my life and could never find someone to say “I get it” and then I found about him in an intro to ethics class and I felt like wow I can’t stop thinkiing about how awesome this guy is.

Two quotess are “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” and “One sticks one’s finger into the soil to tell by the smell in what land one is: I stick my finger in existence — it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How came I here? What is this thing called the world? What does this world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the world? Why was I not consulted, why not made acquainted with its manners and customs instead of throwing me into the ranks, as if I had been bought by a kidnapper, a dealer in souls? How did I obtain an interest in this big enterprise they call reality? Why should I have an interest in it? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am to be compelled to take part in it, where is the director? I should like to make a remark to him. Is there no director? Whither shall I turn with my complaint? ”

tb1570's avatar

@Symbeline beat me to it, but I was gonna say Calvin, from Calvin & Hobbes.

drdoombot's avatar

I’m partial to Descartes, mainly because his writings seem to be a precursor to the thought which inspired The Matrix (probably my favorite movie). His thought experiment in Meditations on First Philosophy is quite interesting to follow and consider, where he rejects his senses due to their imperfections and destroys reality with his skepticism. He eventually comes up with his famous “I think, therefore I am” (which most people don’t understand). It’s quite entertaining to follow him all the way through to the rebuilding of reality based on what he considers to be rational truths.

Still, Descartes can be a little out there, so it’s good to read John Locke beside him. The latter takes a practical approach, suggesting that doubting reality is a waste of time because the only thing we have to go on are our senses and they seem to follow some kind of framework of rules that are always true (for example, apples grow from trees, not out of pavement). Locke is the philosopher for the pragmatic person.

George Berkeley had some funky ideas about how there probably is no reality and we are all just ideas observing other ideas, all by the grace of God. Nietzsche’s “God is dead, and man killed him” idea blew me away the first time I read about it many years ago. Lao-Tzu has some interesting thoughts about inaction being the ultimate manifestation of skill and expertise in a subject (an idea that seems pretty contradictory with the modern Western way of life). And it might be cliche, but I just love Socrates’ general attitude about life: question everything and, when you get the chance, make people look stupid using their own words.

Nullo's avatar

Aristotle, for the sheer amount of work that he put into his work, even if it was wrong. After him, I’d toss in the material monists just for being so strange.

MrBr00ks's avatar

Bono (of U2): “It’s not enough to rage against the lie…you’ve got to replace it with the truth.”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My first response was Calvin and Hobbes or Dilbert and Wally. Give me a break, its first thing in the morning. You asked that seriously, so I’ll get the brain to kick in. I think the Southeast Asian area, Vietnam, etc produced some interesting thinkers. So much conflict in an ancient area. Ho and Giap, the Two Sisters?

tenderness's avatar

I like Plato and Nietzche. The first is one of the oldest thinkers and still topical. While Nietzche was an orginal mind

FlipFlap's avatar

Oddly enough, my favorite philosopher is probably Mark Twain.

tenderness's avatar

Entire ignorance is not so terrible or extreme an evil, and is far from being the greatest of all; too much cleverness and too much learning, accompanied with ill bringing-up, are far more fatal.
Plato

one must have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star. ... Nietzsche

Cotton101's avatar

David Letterman!

tenderness's avatar

ah ah! Like Twain a lot

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Jim Morrison or Johnny Resnick

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I have another one that I really like: Dave Barry. He’s more of a satirist, but definitely has an interesting outlook on life and politics.

cornbird's avatar

Bruce Lee… the greatest warrior…is within…

tinyfaery's avatar

The Existentialist, especially Sartre, are my faves. They just ring the most true, to me.

I also appreciate the enlightenment thinkers: Kant, Rousseau, Hegel, etc.

zephyr826's avatar

I really enjoyed Voltaire when i was in college. Reading Candide made me think quite a bit about society.

smack's avatar

Emerson primarily, but I do enjoy Sartre.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I like Daniel Dennett, not just for his religious views, but particularly because he deals with the philosophy of the mind from a naturalist point of view. His paper Where Am I is brilliant. I am starting to read some of Elliott Sober’s work, and so far he seems very good too.

gailcalled's avatar

@Harp is on my list.

mammal's avatar

i like Nietzsche, popular choice i know, too quotable to pick one in particular, i like Hegel, i like David Hume and empiricism, i love Derrida for deconstruction, i am mesmerised by Adorno and Karl Marx for giving Capitalism a good kick in the teeth. Most eastern thinkers, and i like me, when i’m on philosophical form.

DrMC's avatar

Miller

For this scene in Repo Man.

And for all the socialists out there – don’t forget Ayn Rand

mammal's avatar

@DrMC people on this thread have stretched the definition of philosopher to breaking point, you just broke it with the Ayn Rand suggestion.

DrMC's avatar

@mammal struck a nerve did she?

mammal's avatar

@DrMC yeah, she’s putrid.

DrMC's avatar

I imagine you prefer marx

DrMC's avatar

Did you know she grew up in russia, tasting fully the fruit of marx’s labor.

So did my wife. She was raised in the cultural revolution in china.

Like so many others – you should walk a mile in their shoes before spawning the marxist hell you desire to send us to.

DrMC's avatar

you are taking too long.. gnight

mammal's avatar

@DrMC blah… go back to sleep.

mammal's avatar

@DrMC Did you know Rand was educated by the Soviet State, probably at much less cost than the American Equivalent, talk about biting the hand that feeds it. Perhaps it is you who should walk a mile without any shoes at all because you can’t afford any, because you have the misfortune to live in a place like Haiti for example, a place where Capitalism expresses the full reality of it’s nature.

DrMC's avatar

Have you ever spoken to someone from the former soviet union?

You should hear the emotional description of what it’s like to leave work early or not go at all so you can get toilet paper after waiting hours in line. Shoes? – how about toilet paper.

Don’t get me wrong – I like Marx – I just think he was a little bit 18th century.

You should read something a little more current. Eat the Rich – I think you might be surprised.

In terms of movie entertainment there is a foreign film which starts slow but has a scene which lives in me – To Live – there is a scene which involves the consequence of the cultural revolution on medical care. The Chinese government was very unhappy this movie was published.

This scene should give one pause in the health care reform debate – and ask. Monday is March first. Do you know where your doctor is?

mammal's avatar

@DrMC Marx is current, Plato is current, Shakespeare is current, i don’t feel that they are past their sell by date personally. Yes, well O’Rourke, what can i say, i suspect he is amusing on occasion and tiresomely witty, in a way only someone born on the right side of the tracks can be.. something for the snidey middle-classes to amuse themselves with, no doubt, a suburban mercenary hero, poking fun at the whole world from a rather comfortable vantage point and making a pretty penny :)

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