Chapter Three

Which Philosophers Do You Admire?

Adams (U.C. Los Angeles): I admire most of the famous philosophers: 
Plato, Aristotle, Socrates. I admire most of the medieval 
philosophers like Aquinas. I have great admiration for Descartes. I 
have immense admiration for Kant. I admire Berkeley for his daring, 
clarity, style, and his creativity.

Churchland, Paul (U.C. San Diego): I admire my wife [Patricia]. I 
think she's a very good philosopher, but that may not be the answer 
that you were looking for. Historically, I admire Aristotle because 
he was a philosopher who knew as much science as it was possible to 
know. I admire Descartes because he was a philosopher who knew as 
much physics and mathematics and physiology as it was possible at 
that time for a philosopher to know. I admire Bertrand Russell for 
the same reasons. There are many philosophers like this. I guess I 
don't admire all of them because some of them have come up with 
theories which I don't think are successful. Philosophers should know 
as much science as possible and that's science in a very broad sense. 
That includes psychology, sociology, and includes the human sciences 
and also the legal sciences--jurisprudence and political theory.

Cohon (Stanford): [Among living philosophers] there are many I admire 
without necessarily agreeing with them: Donald Davidson, G.E. Moore, 
Anscombe, Bernard Williams, Thomas Nagel, John Rawls. I admire them 
for the originality and depth of their thought; some for the clarity 
with which they express it as well (although this is not the case for 
Anscombe and Williams).

Copp (U.C. Davis): John Rawls. He attempts to deal with central 
philosophical problems. He provides a strikingly original approach.

Dreyfus (U.C. Berkeley): I admire Heidegger and Merleau Ponty most. I 
admire, like anyone would, Aristotle because he is the great 
philosopher who managed to say many important things while staying 
close to common sense. I admire Kant because he is the greatest 
philosopher that ever lived, the most systematic and most original 
and certainly one of the most influential. But my [primary figure is] 
Heidegger because I think he is not only close to common sense, but 
deeper than Aristotle, righter than Kant. He has got the advantages 
of both of them but he has also got a deeper understanding of the 
human condition than either. 

Friedman (U.C. Davis): Socrates, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Russell, 
Quine, Kripke, and Van Krassen because all these were radical 
philosophical innovators and all are breathtaking.

Griesemer (U.C. Davis): I admire William Wimsatt (my dissertation 
advisor at the University of Chicago) because he is creative. He sees 
new and interesting philosophical problems about science that other 
people don't see. He probably doesn't produce the best answers or the 
most readable essays, but neither do I. I tend to value creativity 
and insight more than "correctness" or even "clarity." I admire 
Nelson Goodman and his work in art, representation, and individuals. 
His work is clear as well as creative. He's the sort of philosopher I 
find myself reading to get me jazzed up about a problem again after 
I've not thought about it for a long time. I admire Nancy Cartwright, 
a philosopher of physics. She's written a lot on abstraction, 
causation and laws on physical science. She is also very innovative 
as philosophers go. I especially like her collection of essays, "How 
the Laws of Physics Lie."

Jolley (U.C. San Diego): Spinoza, Hobbes, Berkeley, Hume; they were 
intellectually fearless, and (with the possible exception of Spinoza) 
clear, incisive writers.

Jubien (U.C. Davis): I admire most of the eight or ten frequently 
mentioned great philosophers of history. Among contemporaries, I 
especially admire Saul Kripke, David Lewis, W.V. Quine, and Roderick 
Chisholm. I admire all these philosophers because they have done very 
important work in what I think of as the most central problems of 
philosophy. Of course I often disagree with their views. (I admire 
lots of other philosophers as well.)

Kaplan (U.C. Los Angeles): I admire my teacher Rudolph Carnap. I 
admire Sal Kripke.

Lloyd (U.C. Berkeley): Hegel and Aristotle.  I admire Hegel because 
he had such a strong sense of history. And I admire Aristotle because 
he had such a strong sense of the natural world.

Matson (U.C. Berkeley): Aristotle. Epicurus, for his fundamentally 
right world-view and his hostility to superstition. Hobbes, for his 
incomparable style and his feistiness. Spinoza, who outlined the 
essentials of a scientific view of the universe and of man and the 
human good. Hume, for his Christianity bashing. Nietzsche, ditto, and 
for reviving the Aristotelian ethic for self-realization.

McCann (University of Southern California): I can name a few. Locke 
is the person I am most interested in because Locke is one who I 
think did more than anyone else to lay foundations for a mechanistic 
theory of science. I also very much like Hume's work, another 
empiricist. I am also interest in Kant who has a problematic relation 
to both rationalism and empiricism. As for modern philosophers, the 
one I am most interested in is Wittgenstein. He has a complex 
relation to philosophical theorizing. I do not read him negatively as 
a lot of people do. I do not think his aim is to just say you can not 
have any appropriate philosophical theorizing about things at all. I 
think he performed an important service in reigning in some of the 
more ambitious speculations about the nature of mind and about the 
workings of language, showing that one had to be extremely careful 
and pay a lot of attention to detailed examples in arriving at 
general claims about mind and language. It is that tendency that I admire
in Wittgenstein.
I am pretty much a hard empiricist. What you see is it. This is 
another thing which Wittgenstein has done a lot to bring out. What 
you see is very much controlled by conceptual presuppositions and 
things which you have that sometimes work to the good to help 
structure your experience. Other times it can work to the bad, to 
distort what evidence is.

McGray (University of San Diego): Wittgenstein, Mill, Kant, Hume, and 
Russell. They treat questions in a critical and ruthlessly honest way.

Needleman (San Francisco State): Plato, Maimonides, Kierkegaard, 
Nietzsche, and Kant.

Shalinsky (U.C. San Diego): "Admiration" is probably too strong a 
word to describe my attitude toward philosophers. I think, personally,
 that it's important to be somewhat of an iconoclast: one shouldn't 
cower in the face of even the most imposing philosophers. In the 
first place, outright devotion tends to undermine (what I think is) 
the essentially critical spirit of philosophy. In the second place, 
students frequently find themselves paralyzed when confronted with 
the difficult text by a philosopher they idolize. I suspend my 
iconoclasm only in the case of Kant. His arguments are unbelievably 
complex (as well as, if you ask me, right) that one cannot help but 
feel admiration.

Smart (U.C. Santa Barbara): As I said before, Popper, because of his 
ability to see the importance of democracy and freedom. Buddha, 
because he was a very subtle mind; he was very intellectual. Indians: 
Shankara and Ramanuja. On the Western front, David Hume, the Scottish 
empiricist, who in some ways has beliefs similar to those of the 
Buddhists. And Immanuel Kant, who was concerned with the 
reconciliation of science and human freedom, gearing science towards 
human values.

Suppes (Stanford University): Among the modern philosophers I admire 
William James and John Dewey. James has a lot of flair that Dewey 
doesn't and Dewey has other virtues that James does not have. I think 
highly of Quine's writings.

Wollheim (U.C. Davis): Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, John Stuart Mill, 
Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein.
Woodruff (U.C. Irvine): Well, I have a license plate that has the 
name of a philosopher on it--Rudolph Carnap. He was [besides being a 
pioneer in logical positivism] a wonderful person.