After Richard Rorty died, Raymond Geuss wrote some recollections of their encounters. In his reminiscence, Geuss mentions that Rorty projected teaching an undergraduate course called "An Alternate History of Modern Philosophy". The idea was that the course would teach philosophy from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century without referring to the traditional canonical thinkers. It would be "without any reference to Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, or J. S. Mill."
The reminiscence mentions that Rorty would start the course with Petrus Ramus and end it with Dewey.
As a question to the community, I'd like to know if anyone in their formal or informal studies has come across a figure that they would like to share as an alternate, yet profound, thinker in the Western tradition. It would also be interesting if one could couple the nominee with the usual suspect normally prominent (e.g., Ramus as "replacement" for Descartes) stating briefly why.
Obviously, I'm not suggesting that Rorty's idea is a great one, but I do think it interesting and would like to see people's suggestions for nominations to an alternate history of Western philosophy that is no less plausible than the traditional one.
It would also be curious to see if this is even possible for some periods (I believe even Rorty could not dispose of Kant!).