Top Philosophers Quotes

Browse top 255 famous quotes and sayings about Philosophers by most favorite authors.

Favorite Philosophers Quotes

1. "Our civilized world is nothing but a great masquerade. You encounter knights, parsons, soldiers, doctors, lawyers, priests, philosophers and a thousand more: but they are not what they appear - they are merely masks... Usually, as I say, there is nothing but industrialists, businessmen and speculators concealed behind all these masks."
Author: Arthur Schopenhauer
2. "It is passing strange that our philosophers of the Revolutionary period should have formed their conception of a free society by reference to societies where everyone was not free - where, in fact, the vast majority were not free. It is no less strange that they never stopped to ask whether perhaps the characters which they so much admired were not made possible by the existence of a class which was not free. Rousseau, in whose philosophy were many things, was fully conscious of this difficulty: "Must we say that liberty is possible only on a basis of slavery? Perhaps we must."
Author: Bertrand De Jouvenel
3. "...somehow the old philosophers could make even the most salacious topics seem boring."
Author: Brandon Sanderson
4. "Like all philosophers, Aristotle gives words the definitions which will be most useful for his own purpose"
Author: C.S. Lewis
5. "Maybe belief is the biggest lie. In ages past, the earliest philosophers tried to explain the stars in the sky and the world around them. One of them conceived of the notion that the universe was mounted on giant crystal spheres controlled by a giant machine, which explained the movements of the heavens. He was laughed at and told that such a machine would be so huge and noisy that everyone would hear it. He simply replied that we are born with that noise all around us, and that we are so used to hearing it that we cannot hear it at all."
Author: Dan Abnett
6. "If philosophy had the power to establish incontrovertible truths, immune to doubt, and if philosophers were as a rule wholly disinterested practitioners of their art, then it might be possible to speak of progress in philosophy. In fact, however, the philosophical tendencies and presuppositions of any age are, to a very great degree, determined by the prevailing cultural mood or by the ideological premises generally approved of my the educated classes. As often as not, the history of philosophy has been a history of prejudices masquerading as principles, and so merely a history of fashion. It is as possible today to be an intellectually scrupulous Platonist as it was more than two thousand years ago; it is simply not in vogue."
Author: David Bentley Hart
7. "At this point we can finally see what's really at stake in our peculiar habit of defining ourselves simultaneously as master and slave, reduplicating the most brutal aspects of the ancient household in our very concept of ourselves, as masters of our freedoms, or as owners of our very selves. It is the only way that we can imagine ourselves as completely isolated beings. There is a direct line from the new Roman conception of liberty – not as the ability to form mutual relationships with others, but as the kind of absolute power of "use and abuse" over the conquered chattel who make up the bulk of a wealthy Roman man's household – to the strange fantasies of liberal philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, and Smith, about the origins of human society in some collection of thirty- or forty-year-old males who seem to have sprung from the earth fully formed, then have to decide whether to kill each other or begin to swap beaver pelts."
Author: David Graeber
8. "Very few of us can now place ourselves in the mental condition in which even such philosophers as the great Descartes were involved in the days before Newton had announced the true laws of the motion of bodies."
Author: Descartes
9. "Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards."
Author: Diogenes
10. "Let us be dreamers, thinkers, speculative philosophers, or as our spouses would have it: Idiots"
Author: Douglas Adams
11. "Amor fati: this is the very core of my being—And as to my prolonged illness, do I not owe much more to it than I owe to my health? To it I owe a higher kind of health, a sort of health which grows stronger under everything that does not actually kill it!—To it, I owe even my philosophy.… Only great suffering is the ultimate emancipator of spirit, for it teaches one that vast suspiciousness which makes an X out of every U, a genuine and proper X, i.e., the antepenultimate letter. Only great suffering; that great suffering, under which we seem to be over a fire of greenwood, the suffering that takes its time—forces us philosophers to descend into our nethermost depths, and to let go of all trustfulness, all good-nature, all whittling-down, all mildness, all mediocrity,—on which things we had formerly staked our humanity."
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
12. "It is only great pain--that slow, sustained pain that takes its time, in which we are, as it were, burned with smoldering green firewood--that forces us philosophers to sink to our ultimate profundity and to do away with all the trust, everything good-natured, veil-imposing, mild and middling, on which we may have previously based our humanity. I doubt that such a pain makes us 'better'--but I know that it makes us deeper."
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
13. "Yet there have been and still are mathematicians and philosophers who doubt whether the whole universe, or to speak more widely, the whole of being, was only created in Euclid's geometry. They even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity."
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
14. "Progress in science and technology is real, but it builds on past truths without rejecting them. Computers don't have to be re-invented in order to keep getting better; innovations expand what they already do. Knowledge accumulates, so it can increase. Scientists and engineers know this, but artists, authors, and philosophers keep trying to start over from ground zero in the humanities. Thus, they don't really progress—they become primitive."
Author: Gene Edward Veith Jr.
15. "The finest SF comes to grips with life's mysteries, with our resentments against our own natures and our limited societies. It does so by asking basic questions in the artful, liberating way that is unique to this form of writing. Echoes of it are found in other forms of fiction - in the novel of ideas, in the historical novel, in the writings of the great philosophers and scientists; but the best SF does this all more searchingly, by taking what is in most people only a moment of wonder and rebellion against the arbitrariness of existence and making of it an art enriched by knowledge and possibility, expressing our deepest human longing to penetrate into the dark heart of the unknown."
Author: George Zebrowski
16. "If the attitude of many non-Catholic modern philosophers toward Catholic thought could be summarized in a single sentence, it would be: It has been tried, it has produced its definitive results, which have been found lacking, and now its time is past"
Author: Gregory B. Sadler
17. "Bonnie Jean (who thinks all philosophers are idiots) has this quarrel with Wittgenstein, who in several places says that reddish green is inconceivable. Yet every summer, when our peppers are drying from green to red, one can see an intermediate stage that is precisely reddish green."
Author: Guy Davenport
18. "For other great mathematicians or philosophers, he used the epithets magnus, or clarus, or clarissimus; for Newton alone he kept the prefix summus."
Author: He
19. "Even philosophers will praise war as ennobling mankind, forgetting the Greek who said: 'War is bad in that it begets more evil than it kills.'"
Author: Immanuel Kant
20. "The motives behind scientism are culturally significant. They have been mixed, as usual: genuine curiosity in search of truth; the rage for certainty and for unity; and the snobbish desire to earn the label scientist when that became a high social and intellectual rank. But these efforts, even though vain, have not been without harm, to the inventors and to the world at large. The "findings" have inspired policies affecting daily life that were enforced with the same absolute assurance as earlier ones based on religion. At the same time, the workers in the realm of intuition, the gifted finessers - artists, moralists, philosophers, historians, political theorists, and theologians - were either diverted from their proper task, while others were looking on them with disdain as dabblers in the suburbs of Truth."
Author: Jacques Barzun
21. "Labor is the fabled magician's wand, the philosophers stone, and the cap of good fortune."
Author: James Weldon Johnson
22. "Back therefore we find ourselves returning. Back to the wisdom of the plough; back to the wisdom of those who follow the sea. It is all a matter of the wheel coming full-circle. For the sophisticated system of mental reactions to which we finally give our adherence is only the intellectualised reproduction of what more happily constituted natures, without knowing what they possess, possess. Thus between true philosophers and the true simple people there is a magnetic understanding; whereas, the clever ones whose bastard culture only divorces them from the wisdom of the earth remain pilloried and paralysed on the prongs of their own conceit"."
Author: John Cowper Powys
23. "Too often, contemporary continental philosophers take the "other" of philosophy to mean literature, but not religion, which is for them just a little too wholly other, a little beyond their much heralded tolerance of alterity. They retain an antagonism to religious texts inherited straight from the Enlightenment, even though they pride themselves on having made the axioms and dogmas of the Enlightenment questionable. But the truth is that contemporary continental philosophy is marked by the language of the call and the response, of the gift, of hospitality to the other, of the widow, the orphan and the stranger, and by the very idea of the "wholly other," a discourse that any with the ears to hear knows has a Scriptural provenance and a Scriptural resonance. ("A Prologue", Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 1.1, Fall 2003, p. 1)."
Author: John D. Caputo
24. "This Jesus of Nazereth without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caeser, Muhammad and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on matters human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such words of life as were never spoke before or since and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator poet; without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times."
Author: JOHN SCHAFF
25. "Old Sam Hamilton saw this coming. He said there couldn't be any more universal philosophers. The weight of knowledge is too great for one mind to absorb. He saw a time when one man would know only one little fragment, but he would know it well.""Yes," Lee said from the doorway, "and he deplored it. He hated it.""Did he, now?" Adam asked..."Now you question it, I don't know," he said. "I don't know whether he hated it or I hate it for him... Maybe the knowledge is too great and maybe men are growing too small... Maybe kneeling down to atoms, they're becoming atom-sized in their souls. Maybe a specialist is only a coward, afraid to look out of his little cage. And think what any specialist misses! The whole world over his fence!""We're only talking about making a living.""A living? Or money?" Lee said excitedly. "Money's easy to make if it's money you want. But with a few exceptions people don't want money. They want luxury, and they want love, and they want admiration."
Author: John Steinbeck
26. "The moral conscience that so many thoughtless people have offended against and many more have rejected, is something that exists and has always existed. It was not an invention of the philosophers of the Quartenary, when the soul was little more than a muddled proposition. With the passing of time, as well as then social evolution and genetic exchange, we ended up putting our conscience in the colour of blood and in the salt of tears, and, as if that were not enough, we made our eyes into a kind of mirror turned inwards, with the result that they often show without reserve what we are verbally trying to deny. Add to this general observation, the particular circumstance that in simple spirits, the remorse caused by committing some evil act often becomes confused with ancestral fears of every kind, and the result will be that the punishment of the prevaricator ends up being, without mercy or pity, twice what he deserved."
Author: José Saramago
27. "Why do philosophers in the South so often end as newspapermen, poets as doctors? Maybe they crave what's found in pain and loss: a sense of living among other human beings. They'll give up dreams for that."
Author: Josephine Humphreys
28. "Like true philosophers I've come to believe that religion is an illusion of childhood, outgrown after proper education."
Author: Josh Lanyon
29. "And to be quite frank, that is precisely what we need philosophers for. We do not need them to choose a beauty queen or the day's bargain in tomatoes. (This is why they are often unpopular!) Philosophers will try to ignore highly topical affairs and instead try to draw people's attention to what is eternally 'true,' eternally 'beautiful,' and eternally 'good."
Author: Jostein Gaarder
30. "The theories of the major philosophers of the 18th century secular enlightenment were biblical and theological in spite of themselves."
Author: M. H. Abrams
31. "The world is in trouble because of a few funny sympathetic philosophers"
Author: M.F. Moonzajer
32. "Women make us poets, children make us philosophers."
Author: Malcolm De Chazal
33. "Poets create gods, philosophers destroy them."
Author: Marty Rubin
34. "I have tried to read philosophers of all ages and have found many illuminating ideas but no steady progress toward deeper knowledge and understanding. Science, however, gives me the feeling of steady progress: I am convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy. It has revolutionized fundamental concepts, e.g., about space and time (relativity), about causality (quantum theory), and about substance and matter (atomistics), and it has taught us new methods of thinking (complementarity) which are applicable far beyond physics."
Author: Max Born
35. "Elric knew that everything that existed had its opposite. In danger he might find peace. And yet, of course, in peace there was danger. Being an imperfect creature in an imperfect world he would always know paradox. And that was why in paradox there was always a kind of truth. That was why philosophers and soothsayers flourished. In a perfect world there would be no place for them. In an imperfect world the mysteries were always without solution and that was why there was always a great choice of solutions."
Author: Michael Moorcock
36. "Democritus and Heraclitus were two philosophers, of whom the first, finding the condition of man vain and ridiculous, never went out in public but with a mocking and laughing face; whereas Heraclitus, having pity and compassion on this same condition of ours, wore a face perpetually sad, and eyes filled with tears. I prefer the first humor; not because it is pleasanter to laugh than to weep, but because it is more disdainful, and condemns us more than the other; and it seems to me that we can never be despised as much as we deserve. Pity and commiseration are mingled with some esteem for the thing we pity; the things we laugh at we consider worthless. I do not think there is as much unhappiness in us as vanity, nor as much malice as stupidity. We are not so full of evil as of inanity; we are not as wretched as we are worthless."
Author: Michel De Montaigne
37. "Long ago one of the Cynic philosophers strutted through the streets of Athens in a torn mantle to make himself admired by everyone by displaying his contempt for convention. One day Socrates met him and said: 'I see your vanity through the hole in your mantle.' Your dirt too, sir, is vanity, and your vanity is dirty."
Author: Milan Kundera
38. "To expose the roots of liberal democracy in ethinic conflict is an act of destruction that is necessary to lay the foundations for a far greater construction. Creating God is the last and greatest goal that the human race is capable. If and when there exists an artificial intelligence greater than all the greatest philosophers of human history combined, philosophy will quite likely be different because the philosopher will be different. The AI God philosopher is the overcoming of Nietzsche in the overcoming of the conflict between "reason and revelation"."
Author: Mitchell Heisman
39. "The method of exposition which philosophers have adopted leads many to suppose that they are simply inquiries, that they have no interest in the conclusions at which they arrive, and that their primary concern is to follow their premises to their logical conclusions."
Author: Morris Raphael Cohen
40. "You say some Greek philosophers could dazzle their audienceswith their riddles? That does not interest me at all. Bringmore wine instead and play your lute; your changes in tonesremind me of the wind that rushes past and disappears,just like us."
Author: Omar Khayyam
41. "There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands."
Author: Plato
42. "«Who are the true philosophers you have in mind?» he asked. «Sightseers of the truth,» I answered. «That must be right, but what exactly does it mean?» he asked."
Author: Plato
43. "...To the Dolphin alone, beyond all other, nature has granted what the best philosophers seek: friendship for no advantage"
Author: Plutarch
44. "Most moral philosophers consciously or unconsciously assume the essential correctness of our cultural sexual code — family, monogamy, continence, the postulate of privacy, ... restriction of intercourse to the marriage bed, etcetera. Having stipulated our cultural code as a whole, they fiddle with details - even such piffle as solemnly discussing whether or not the female breast is an "obscene" sight! But mostly they debate how the human animal can be induced or forced to obey this code, blandly ignoring the high probability that the heartaches and tragedies they see all around them originate in the code itself rather than the failure to abide by the code."
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
45. "You know the difference between right and wrong,' he repeated finally. 'Man, why did you need Initiation—by the Golden Dawn, or by anybody else? You are a genius, a sage, a giant among men. You have solved the problem which philosophers have been debating since antiquity—the mystery about which no two nations or tribes have ever agreed, and no two men or women have ever agreed, and no intelligent person has ever agreed totally with himself from one day to the next. You know the difference between right and wrong. I am overawed. I swoon. I figuratively kiss your feet."
Author: Robert Anton Wilson
46. "When it comes to science, philosophers stand still."
Author: Sam Houssami
47. "I no longer follow the voices of the sane. I follow the ill because they see farther, feel much more and change what the sane will not. This is the paradox of philosophers---trying to understand mass delusion among great people that have faith and knowledge, yet they can't graduate from their institutions of religious theology to apply the knowledge they have gained for the shifting of Zion---- from words to action; from comfort to uncomfortable; from self serving to self giving; from competition to supporting; to tradition to unity; from bias to acceptance; from me to us."
Author: Shannon L. Alder
48. "Philosophers have a long tradition of marrying stupid women, from Socrates on. They think it clever."
Author: Simon Gray
49. "The philosophers Camus and Sartre raise the question whether or not a man can condemn himself."
Author: Stokely Carmichael
50. "George's son had done his work so thoroughly that he was considered too good a workman to live, and was, in fact, taken and tragically shot at twelve o'clock that same day—another instance of the untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise."
Author: Thomas Hardy

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The squall has ceased to be a cause of my complaint. The magic of the craft has opened for me a world in which I shall confront, within two hours, the black dragons and the crowned crests of a coma of blue lightnings, and when the night has fallen, I, delivered, shall read my course in the stars."
Author: Antoine De Saint Exupéry

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