Who is your favorite philosopher? What made them stand out to you from the rest?
Peter Singer. A hedonistic utilitarian whose views tend to incite controversy on account of they challenge current unethical traditions that a lot of people are comfortable with and don't want to give up.
I also love the fact that he focuses on practical, contemporary moral concepts and doesn't use intimidating language.
"All the particular moral judgments we intuitively make are likely to derive from discarded religious systems, from warped views of sex and bodily functions, or from customs necessary for the survival of the group in social and economic circumstances that now lie in the distant past."
"The traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological and demographic developments."
"Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favoring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case."
For more info: [en.m.wikipedia.org]
Socrates to me and his influences. Socrates' Socratic methods makes me consider the origin of natural knowledge versus academic knowledge. Whether our ability(brain equity) is limited by our cognition and interpretation or it's understanding of new information. Or are we limited by it(brain) itself. If most genius' I.Q.'s range from 160-230: What would a man or woman with an IQ of 300 think of?
Edmund Husserl. He invented phenomenology separating consciousness from the things it was directed at separating physical and mental being based on intentionality, articulated that being in time is limited by mortal boundaries, and heavily influenced the direction of Heidegger (the nazi, but a clear phenomenologist) and Sartre's existentialism (pour soi vs. en soi) . Though he was not strictly a philosopher, I also admire Thorstein Veblen, who advanced institutionalism as a valid school of economic thought, and was the most vocal non-marxist critic of capitalism and the inherent problem with production purely for profit. I probably oversimplified, but it's been a while, and this is a limited forum.