Not to toot my own horn (a bald-faced lie), but I’ve read 11 of Dave’s 14. Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Mill, Kant, Descartes, Plato, Rousseau, Shaeffer, Hawkings, and Augustine. Although, Mill, Kant, and Rousseau doesn’t really count because that was from CIV. But I did read it. And I never finished A Brief History so that doesn’t really count either.
Anyway, you should add to your list Kierkegaard, because he really was influential in existentialism. I dunno, I think Adrian should generate a list of required philosophical reading.
Newsweek had an article this week on the Founding Fathers, and it’s pretty interesting to think about. The U.S. was the very first modern Democratic Republic. That’s kind of impressive. There was nothing else like it in 1776. So what the Founding Fathers (by the way, the P.C. term now is Founders) based everything upon was not some immediate example but philosophical ideals.
Including the philosophical idea that all men are created equal, which as the article points out was far from self-evident at the time. Can you imagine a world without a single democracy? That’s how it was back then. It’s pretty bold what they did.