24 votes

Absolute all time favorite Philosopher/Thinker

Ok, so in keeping with the trend on this forum to ask for the opinion of fellow DP'ers about their Favorite __________

This is going to be a tough one for me. There are many area's of philosophy. Many aren't even considered a philosophy, even though this is quite absurd. When i start pondering this question, the first thing comes to mind is "In what capacity?". I appreciate the Economic philosophy of Murray Rothbard and Adam Smith, The spiritual philosophy of Akbar the Great and Ghandi, John Wycliff as well as enlightened atheist thinkers of the 1700's. Moral Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and yet also that of Henry David Thoreau.

Shakespeare is known for incredibly complex and compelling analysis of the human condition(not to mention a blast to read), Tolstoy was brilliantly intricate and aware before he was an intellectual. The scientific philosophy of Leonard Susskind, Issac Newton, and of course Albert Einstien. I could go on. I could bring up many thinkers that are alive today. Many people who don't spend their time pondering the questions of existence, and morality, spirituality, and yet are better equiped to answer them than some of the names i have already listed. For the record, there are opinions of these thinkers that i don't share. Its generally the approach that is so admirable.

In the end i must choose. Its an artificial mandate that i impose on myself for the purpose of this thread.

Today i choose Blaise Pascal. Specifically for his work on faith, reason and totality.

What about you?

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Favorite Philosopher

Marcus Aurelius, with little doubt. Though, Aristotle had a beautiful mind and was a good, close competitor.

I sadly have not read Pascal but will do so as soon as I am finished reading the last of Plato's dialogues (The Republic).

Oh and St. Augustine

His political writings and City of God letters make him the first non-interventionist. All were critique of the Roman Empire up to 300 A.D.

Southern Agrarian

and Ron Paul has quoted him a

and Ron Paul has quoted him a few times in TV

Southern Agrarian



Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must. like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.-Thomas Paine

The R3volution requires action, not observation!!!!

True, guess that makes him an

True, guess that makes him an early non - interventionist.

Southern Agrarian

Allen Tate

Poet, anarcho-community driven-agrarian farmer sort of fellow. Hated industrial society and leviathan.

Southern Agrarian

Socrates, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Bachelard, Osho and Carlin

These thinkers have influenced my own thinking the most. In addition to this let's include a Finnish philosopher Juha Varto who in the first place open my true interest to philosophy as love of wisdom.

SOCRATES as the philosopher who understands that true wisdom is to know that one does not know and this understanding is connected with love and wonder as the true mysteries of life.
Books: Plato's 1. Symposium, 2. Phaedrus, 3. Apology.

MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY as the philosopher of the body and the flesh. For Merleau-Ponty the body's being-in-the-world is the ultimate root of all wisdom. There is no way of understanding anything without first being a bodily existence. For example, our mind and thinking are deeply rooted in the body's being-in-the-world. Merleau-Ponty wrote about philosophy, art, science, language, sexuality, politics, etc. And what is the most essential in Merleau-Ponty is that for him the philosopher is a perpetual beginner.
Books: 1. Phenomenology of Perception, 2. The Visible and the Invisible, 3. The Merleau-Ponty Reader

MARTIN HEIDEGGER as the philosopher of being-in-the-world, of Being is the thinker who understood that human being is not in the first place constituted of mind (or/and spirit) and body, but that his/her existence is principally openness-to-Being. This means that we are not in the first place a thing (a spiritual thing or a physical thing) but openness toward the world and others. Merleau-Ponty radicalized this openness to mean in the deepest sense bodily openness or perceptual openness which makes other dimensions of openness toward the world possible. For Heidegger, the wonder of all wonders is that 'there is Being', 'there is the world'. But we human beings always tend to forget this constant mystery and wonder and for this reason the task of thinking is a perpetual return to this wonder of all wonders. Heidegger's thinking is a true revolution of the question 'What is human being?', or 'What does it mean to be?'
Books: 1. Basic Writings, 2. The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, 3. What is Called Thinking?

GASTON BACHELARD as the philosopher of imagination understands in a very interesting way that our imagination is not in the first place our own invention, but creativity or imagination is actually in its deepest level the world (or the elements of the world) imagining or dreaming itself within us and the creators, in Bachelard's case, the poet's role is to put the voice of the world within himself into words, that is, to give it a form of expression.
Books: 1. Air and Dreams, 2. The Poetics of Space, 3. The Poetics of Reverie

OSHO as the philosopher of mysticism has opened my understanding to multiple traditions of mystics like no-one else. These traditions include the Christian mysticism, Zen, Taoism, Sufism, Hasidism, Tantra, Yoga, etc. The amount different mystics that I have learned about from his beautiful books include, for example, Meera, Rumi, Lao Tzu, Jesus,St. Francis, Buddha, Krishnamurti, Krishna, Gurdijeff, Kabir, Farid, Dogen, Hakuin, Saraha, Bodhidharma, Milarepa, Mansur Al-Hallaj, Rabia Basri, etc., etc. Osho has around 600 books which include topics of meditation, sex, spirituality, mysticism, love, psychology, humor, etc.
Books: 1. Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic, 2. The Book of Secrets, 3. Sex Matters
Few great examples of Osho's philosophy:
OSHO: With Meditation Life Will Be a Sheer Joy

OSHO: I Am a Spiritual Playboy

GEORGE CARLIN as the philosopher of laughter is the ultimate expression of the stand up comedian who makes you think and laugh at the same time. Nietzsche was calling for a thinker with a golden laughter and Carlin answered the call.
Comedy Shows: 1. It's Bad for Ya, 2. You Are All Diseased, 3. Life Is Worth Losing
Great Examples of Carlin:
George Carlin on The Environment:

George Carlin - Modern Man:

George Carlin -Question Everything:

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

John Locke and Lysander

John Locke and Lysander Spooner for their political philosophy

Milton Friedman for his contribution to economics, especially of the Great Depression

Robert Trivers for his contribution to the field of evolutionary psychology

Judge Richard Posner for his contributions to the field of 'law and economics', and for his theory of wealth maximization as a utilitarian system of justice

I see Locke and Spooner

as mutually exclusive. Spooner is correct which is why Spooner is never (or barely) mentioned in "Law" schools while Locke is at the foundation of "Law" schools.

Locke made the claim that individuals give up some rights to live in a society of the protections of law when this entire concept is not necessary or logically valid within consistent and congruency of all valid Law.

So no up vote or down vote from me but I absolutely despise Locke's foundational failures being acknowledged as valid and especially taught as a valid foundation of law.

The most powerful Law of Nature is Time. It is finite and we all will run out of it. Use this Law to your advantage, for it offers you infinite possibilities...

I do see them at odds on some

I do see them at odds on some issues - like taxation - but that's why I like the combination.

There are certain aspects of both of their philosophies that I don't like. On Locke's side, there's his notion of tacit consent. On Spooner's side, it's his hostility to wage labor. There's of course more examples on both sides.

As far as the specific example that you bring up about Locke -- giving up some rights to live in a society with the protections of law -- I think has to be acknowledged at some level. Either at the level that "government" is merely a paid body guard -- you give it money and it protects you -- , or a more traditional meaning of government where it taxes you and gives you perks as citizens.

The issues are obviously extremely vast. For example, is the United States simply a private club, where the government gets to decide who is members and what its members get? Or is government fundamentally different from other associations that justifies taxation? I don't have THE answer, but I do reject the libertarian party's insistence that citizens should 1) not be forced to pay any taxes and 2) that the government should still provide police protection, courts, etc.

I see where you are coming from

but for me it is simply one of logic. I have come to an unbreakable clarity of my understanding of truth:

Lawful = No law can violate any other law.

In other words if someone is claiming to be "enforcing the law" and is breaking the law then the "law enforcer" can be brought to justice for violating the law. Once I realized the implications of this logical conundrum I reexamined all of my studies of law and then came to a completely different understanding than I previously had. I began to look for non-conflicting pathways of application of law and governance under a scenario where no law can violate any other law and no one can break the law to enforce the law and then I realized that real law seems to be inherently seeking this end naturally due to the fact every time I sought logically congruent and non-conflicting pathways to application of law I found that law already had whole sections of law that addresses and covers these areas with concepts that ARE logically congruent and non conflicting.

After all of this research I found Spooner (I started with Locke like many others). I realized that Spooner inherently knew this same fact because all of the lawful pathways of the application of law that poured right from the pages of his writings. Spooner is the only author I have found that found their way through law without conflicting themselves at all.

Also as far as your acceptance of forced taxation this is another example of where force is not necessary if we simply follow the law and not break the law. If someone forces another to do anything then at minimum a breach of peace has occurred and the one being forced has a valid cause of action against the one committing force. If a court were simply say that no you don't have a valid cause of action OR that it is ok to force another into contract then the precedent will be set to the detriment of all law abiding people. Under that scenario you don't have one who is right and one who is wrong you have the destruction of the rule of law through ignorance of the law which is no defense in lawful proceedings.

In the end if the law is broken to enforce to law all while it is not necessary within law to have the same ends of a lawful peaceful and prosperous society within nature then why would anyone want to destroy the precedent that makes up the consistency?

Spooner clearly found the path and it was not of opinion it is one of consistency. See if you can find a consistent non conflicting path in all law to justify your or Locke's positions I think you will be surprised.

The most powerful Law of Nature is Time. It is finite and we all will run out of it. Use this Law to your advantage, for it offers you infinite possibilities...

modern day

Stephan molynuex

tasmlab's picture

Bump up for Stafan Molyneux

I've only consumed about a billionnth of the world's intellectual capital, but I haven't heard anyone so elegantly tie Rand and Rothbard together and then extend it to other power formations, including the oft scary analysis of the family and the treatment of children.

It seems odd to put him on the list with the historical icons, but he may very well deserve to be there if not sit at the top. And he may still have 40 more years of work to do.

Currently consuming: Gatto: "Underground history of education..", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner



I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy

You took the words right out of my fingers

Spooner is light years beyond any other. Spooner is the only man I have read who never logically conflicted themselves in law. Spooner was right and everyone else I have read have some point of failure in their logical congruency of law.

The most powerful Law of Nature is Time. It is finite and we all will run out of it. Use this Law to your advantage, for it offers you infinite possibilities...

I am really excited about Lysander Spooner.

I will have to look further into him, as he receives much praise here on the Daily Paul


I suggest that before you read Spooner

you thoroughly investigate and understand the follow concepts of Common Law

The elements that make up a valid contract and Contract Law
The Common Law of Agency
The foundational maxims of law and why they are maxims
The definition of Law itself
The elements that make up a valid cause of court action
The Common Law right to face one's Accuser
The original source of the concepts of "Strict Liability" and its relation to Spooner's era

I learned these things before reading Spooner and it made everything perfectly clear.

The most powerful Law of Nature is Time. It is finite and we all will run out of it. Use this Law to your advantage, for it offers you infinite possibilities...

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha

The middle path makes the most practical sense in all aspects of life. As a religious philosophy it is the right balance between the extremes of asceticism and material over-indulgence.


RAMAKRISHNA PULIGANDLA for his wonderful treatise on jnana yoga and advaita vedanta. He so elegantly explains the concepts of non dual reality, categorical frameworks, and ultimate truth/reality. Concepts that were new to western philosophers within the past 300 years were already ancient to ondian philosophers. Puligandla gets you up to speed quickly.

Kind of partial

to Frank Zappa myself.



Why does somebody down vote Kant?

What's wrong with Kant?

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

all the objectivists are going to downvote Kant

because Rand told them he was the devil, and even though they never read his works themselves.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

You're right

But then I don't like Kant for the same reason I don't like objectivism.

They both support the state, although clearly objectivists support a lot less.

Interpreted politically objectivism nets out as a reactionary movement. They don't want to take a critical look at the state generally, they just oppose the new bits of which they do not approve. Existing state monopolies are ok, it's just the new ones that are bad.

I don't mind that so much, since I don't think we're likely to get to the point they wish much less the point I wish. But I do mind how objectivists often (not always) so rabidly attack any further criticism of the state. At some point they seem to become like socons when you challenge the war on drugs.

"Do you want ANARCHY?!!"

"Yes ma'm, in fact I do":)



Because he wrote apologia for the state

It wasn't even particularly good, and it was mystical nonsense besides.

He was about as coherent as Keynes and that is not a compliment. They were both very muddy thinkers.

He's only famous for the same reason Keynes is famous. If they weren't spinning apologia for state power no would ever have heard of them.


was, for example, influenced by Kant.

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

And Mises was a statist. Perfect example.

Thank you.