For me, Schopenhauer, Bentham, Hume and Singer, hands down, all because of their clear consistent views on ethics, and their rational and / or empiricism.

 

There are of course others I like very much (Nitchsze stands out) , but the ones above are my favorites.

 

I really don't like Descartes.  He's clearly more intelligent than I am, this is obvious from his pensées, but I can't see how he could justify some of his claims at all (some of them which were very cruel IMO)

 

You?

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So coo! Thanks, I didn't know that.
If we're talking about inventors of the ancient world who technically also qualify as a sort of philosopher, I really am in nerd-love with Heron of Alexandria. (New topic idea!)

As far as regular philosophers. . . it may sound really cliche, but I've been reading Plato's Dialogues since I was nine, and not only do I admire Plato as a philosopher, but Socrates as well. Socrates to me really is special as a philosopher because his method of argument is similar to the methodology in tai chi; arguing without arguing, using an opponent's momentum against them rather than forcing your ideas on them. His philosophies really share core similarities to Taoist teachings of how to live life.

But the largest push of respect I gained from Socrates was his role as the gadfly. There is nothing in this world I appreciate more than a thinking mind, a rational and constantly questioning consciousness, and he did not let laws stop him from provoking the youth to use their rationality.

My father had a degree in Philosophy and he frequently shared Socrates' stories with me as a child. He even named his third son, my eldest brother, Socrates in his honor.

I've also read Dostoevsky since I was about twelve, beginning with my first book report on him for Crime and Punishment. I really admire his philosophies even if I don't always agree with them. I understand his near-death experience instilled faith in his once nearly-Atheist mind, and it's something I can respect. His work is the closest to divine literature can get to me.
Yeah, and apparently he was a really nice guy too. A lot of people from his time apparently admitted that they didn't like to see him excommunicated from his jewish community, because he was just such a nice guy.

He's the first person on record in european history to lead an openly atheistic life with no affiliation to any religious establishment. The fact that he was in amsterdam helped - if he had been in portugal or spain, that never would have worked for him.
There was a somewhat interesting book I read a while ago about Spinoza, emotions, and neuroscience by Antonio Damasio called Looking for Spinoza.
Voltaire, Bertrand Russell and Plato come to mind.
I'll take the first two, since they're the names I came to post. Plato... maybe. He's fascinating and undeniably important, but not my favourite.

Gosh another person like/similar to me! Thanks!

Ayn Rand/Objectivism.
To a degree. Any dedicated follower of Ayn Rand would disagree with my views (I know a few, and they do), but I think there's a lot in the basic philosophy. The details, to me, seem misguided.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the soundness of Rand's ontology (there seem to be some inconsistencies), I see Objectivism as one of the best life "strategies" overall. I personally find it to be the most grounded of philosophies in dealing with the material world.
I'd like to have the Stripper, too.
Auguste Comte, first real philosopher of science. He also developed positive philosophy, coined the term "Altruism" and founded Sociology.

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