Over at the excellent Philosophy Bites:
To celebrate the publication of our second Philosophy Bites book, Philosophy Bites Back, we’ve released a 39 minute podcast episode of a wide range of philosophers answering the question ‘Who’s Your Favourite Philosopher?’
Spoiler alert: Hume (1711-1776) emerges as the clear winner. From his SEP entry:
Hume’s family thought him suited for a career in the law, but he preferred reading classical authors, especially Cicero, whose Offices became his secular substitute for The Whole Duty of Man and his family’s strict Calvinism. Pursuing the goal of becoming “a Scholar & Philosopher,” he followed a rigorous program of reading and reflection for three years until “there seem’d to be open’d up to me a New Scene of Thought.”
The intensity of developing this philosophical vision precipitated a psychological crisis in the isolated scholar. Believing that “a more active scene of life” might improve his condition, Hume made “a very feeble trial” in the world of commerce, as a clerk for a Bristol sugar importer. The crisis passed and he remained intent on articulating his “new scene of thought.” He moved to France, where he could live frugally, and finally settled in La Flèche, a sleepy village in Anjou best known for its Jesuit college. Here, where Descartes and Mersenne studied a century before, Hume read French and other continental authors, especially Malebranche, Dubos, and Bayle; he occasionally baited the Jesuits with iconoclastic arguments; and, between 1734 and 1737, he drafted A Treatise of Human Nature.
For those keeping score, that means Hume began writing the Treatise he was 23.