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Timothy LearyIn the information age, you don't teach philosophy as they did after feudalism. You perform it. If Aristotle were alive today he'd have a talk show.

—  Timothy Leary, 1920-1996, American psychologist

Wallace StevensPerhaps it is of more value to infuriate philosophers than to go along with them.

—  Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955, American poet

EpicurusIt is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth.

—  Epicurus, 341-270 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

SocratesBy all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

—  Socrates, 469-399 BC, Ancient Geek Philosopher

Gebhard von BlücherThe philosophy of a generation is the common sense of the next.

—  Gebhard von Blücher, 1742-1819, German field marshal

Alfred North WhiteheadThe safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

—  Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947, British philosopher & mathematician

AristotleI have gained this by philosophy: I do without being ordered what some are constrained to do by their fear of the law.

—  Aristotle, 384-322 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

René DescartesThere is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another.

—  René Descartes, 1596-1650, French philosopher

Will DurantEvery science begins as philosophy and ends as art.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Emile M. CioranLosing love is so rich a philosophical ordeal that it makes a hairdresser into a rival of Socrates.

—  Emile M. Cioran, 1911-1995, French-Romanian philosopher

Charles Caleb ColtonPhilosophy is a bully that talks loud when the danger is at a distant; but, the moment she is pressed hard by an enemy, she is nowhere to be found and leaves the brunt of the battle to be fought by her steady, humble comrade, religion.

—  Charles Caleb Colton, 1780-1832, English cleric & writer

Will DurantThe Greeks offered the East philosophy, the East offered Greece religion; religion won because philosophy was a luxury for the few, religion was a consolation for the many.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Emile M. CioranThere are issues which, once approached, either isolate you or kill you outright.

—  Emile M. Cioran, 1911-1995, French-Romanian philosopher

Emile M. CioranProfound thinkers are only the ones who do not suffer from a sense of the ridiculous

—  Emile M. Cioran, 1911-1995, French-Romanian philosopher

Karl MarxThe philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

—  Karl Marx, 1818-1883, German philosopher

Friedrich NietzschePlato is boring.

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher

Friedrich NietzscheTo live alone one must be an animal or a god - says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both - a philosopher.

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher

Friedrich NietzscheIt is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher

Baruch SpinozaI do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of established religion.

—  Baruch Spinoza, 1632-1677, Dutch philosopher

AnonymousA philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it.

—  Anonymous

     (wrongly attributed to Mencken, Oscar Wilde and others)

David HumeGenerally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.

—  David Hume, 1711-1776, Scottish philosopher

Ambrose BiercePhilosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

—  Ambrose Bierce, 1842–1914, American writer

Ambrose BierceWhen lost in a forest go always down hill. When lost in a philosophy or doctrine go upward.

—  Ambrose Bierce, 1842–1914, American writer

CiceroThere is nothing so absurd that it has not been said by some philosopher.

—  Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman orator & statesman

Albert CamusA novel is never anything but a philosophy put into images.

—  Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French writer, Nobel 1957

Paul ValeryThe history of thought may be summed up in these words: it is absurd by what it seeks and great by what it finds.

—  Paul Valery, 1871-1945, French poet

Will DurantScience gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Will DurantIn philosophy, as in politics, the longest distance between two points is a straight line.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Will DurantIn its youth a people produce mythology and poetry; in its decadence, philosophy and logic.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Alfred North WhiteheadIt is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.

—  Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947, British philosopher & mathematician

Alfred North WhiteheadPhilosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophic thought has done its best, the wonder remains.

—  Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947, British philosopher & mathematician

William JamesPhilosophy is an unusually stubborn attempt to think clearly.

—  William James, 1842-1910, American philosopher

Georg Christoph LichtenbergGod created man in his own image, says the Bible; the philosophers do the exact opposite, they create God in theirs.

—  Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1742-1799, German author of maxims

Arthur SchopenhauerPhilosophy is a science, and as such has no articles of faith; accordingly, in it nothing can be assumed as existing except what is either positively given empirically, or demonstrated through indubitable conclusions.

—  Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860, German philosopher

Anton ChekhovI would love to meet a philosopher like Nietzsche on a train or boat and to talk with him all night. Incidentally, I don't consider his philosophy long-lived. It is not so much persuasive as full of bravura.

—  Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904, Russian writer

Albert CamusThere is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

—  Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French writer, Nobel 1957

Thomas JeffersonAs you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us.

—  Thomas Jefferson, 1749-1826, American President [1801-1809]

EpicurusLuxurious food and drinks, in no way protect you from harm. Wealth beyond what is natural, is no more use than an overflowing container. Real value is not generated by theaters, and baths, perfumes or ointments, but by philosophy.

—  Epicurus, 341-270 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

Personal Stories

Jean-Paul SartreIf I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I'm still waiting, it's all been to seduce women basically.

—  Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, French philosopher

Latin Quotes

Latin proverbA beard does not make a philosopher.

Barba non facit philosophum.

—  Latin proverb

Funny Quotes

Kurt Vonnegut"To be is to do" - Socrates
"To do is to be" - Sartre
"Do Be Do Be Do" - Sinatra

—  Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007, American writer


Ancient Greek

AntisthenesWhen he was asked what advantage had accrued to him from philosophy, his answer was, “The ability to hold converse with myself.”

Ερωτηθείς τι αυτώ περιγέγονεν εκ φιλοσοφίας, έφη, «το δύνασθαι εαυτώ ομιλείν».

—  Antisthenes, 445-360 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher



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