In it he proves that all things are true and states how the truths of all contradictions may be reconciled physically, such as for example that white is black and black is white; that one can be and not be at the same time; that there can be hills without valleys; that nothingness is something and that everything, which is, is not. But take note that he proves all these unheard-of paradoxes without any fallacious or sophistical reasoning.
—Cyrano de Bergerac (1619–55) French Soldier, Duelist, Writer
And new Philosophy calls all in doubt, the element of fire is quite put out; the Sun is lost, and the earth, and no mans wit can well direct him where to look for it.
—John Donne (1572–1631) English Poet, Cleric
Then, like an old-time orator impressively he rose; I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.
—Sara Teasdale (1884–1933) American Poet
If you set your heart upon philosophy, you must straightway prepare yourself to be laughed at and mocked by many who will say Behold a philosopher arisen among us! or How came you by that brow of scorn? But do you cherish no scorn, but hold to those things which seem to you the best, as one set by God in that place. Remember too, that if you abide in those ways, those who first mocked you, the same shall afterwards reverence you; but if you yield to them, you will be laughed at twice as much as before.
—Epictetus (55–135) Ancient Greek Philosopher
Tell me what gives a man or woman their greatest pleasure and I’ll tell you their philosophy of life.
—Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) American Self-Help Author
What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
What for the sage, old Apollonius?
Upon her aching forehead be there hung
The leaves of willow and of adder’s tongue;
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine –
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.
—John Keats (1795–1821) English Poet
Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
It is one of the chief skills of the philosopher not to occupy himself with questions which do not concern him.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) Austrian-born British Philosopher
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
A writer must always try to have a philosophy and he should also have a psychology and a philology and many other things. Without a philosophy and a psychology and all these various other things he is not really worthy of being called a writer. I agree with Kant and Schopenhauer and Plato and Spinoza and that is quite enough to be called a philosophy. But then of course a philosophy is not the same thing as a style.
—Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) American Writer
As an example of just how useless these philosophers are for any practice in life there is Socrates himself, the one and only wise man, according to the Delphic Oracle. Whenever he tried to do anything in public he had to break off amid general laughter. While he was philosophizing about clouds and ideas, measuring a flea’s foot and marveling at a midge’s humming, he learned nothing about the affairs of ordinary life.
—Desiderius Erasmus (c.1469–1536) Dutch Humanist, Scholar
We often have need of a profound philosophy to restore to our feelings their original state of innocence, to find our way out of the rubble of things alien to us, to begin to feel for ourselves and to speak ourselves, and I might almost say to exist ourselves.
—Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99) German Philosopher, Physicist
One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another.
—Rene Descartes (1596–1650) French Mathematician, Philosopher
Bishop Berkeley destroyed this world in one volume octavo; and nothing remained, after his time, but mind; which experienced a similar fate from the hand of Mr. Hume in 1737.
—Sydney Smith (1771–1845) English Clergyman, Essayist, Wit
Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.
—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) German Philosopher
Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?
—Harold Pinter (1930–2008) British Playwright
The traditional disputes of philosophers are, for the most part, as unwarranted as they are unfruitful.
—A. J. Ayer (1910–89) English Philosopher
In philosophy if you aren’t moving at a snail’s pace you aren’t moving at all.
—Iris Murdoch (1919–99) British Novelist, Playwright, Philosopher
A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) Austrian-born British Philosopher
In 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 (1920–96) American Psychologist, Author
The philosopher is like a man fasting in the midst of universal intoxication. He alone perceives the illusion of which all creatures are the willing playthings; he is less duped than his neighbor by his own nature. He judges more sanely, he sees things as they are. It is in this that his liberty consists—in the ability to see clearly and soberly, in the power of mental record.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821–81) Swiss Moral Philosopher, Poet, Critic
Philosophy is the product of wonder.
—Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) English Mathematician, Philosopher
There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently, however they have writ the style of gods, and made a pish at chance and sufferance.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
In Plato’s opinion, man was made for philosophy; in Bacon’s opinion, philosophy was made for man.
—Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay (1800–59) English Historian, Essayist, Philanthropist
A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.
—G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) English Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Poet
To be a real philosopher all that is necessary is to hate some one else’s type of thinking.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
If I wished to punish a province, I would have it governed by philosophers.
—Frederick II of Prussia (1712–86) Prussian Monarch
To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
—Ambrose Bierce (1842–1913) American Short-story Writer, Journalist
We are much beholden to Machiavelli and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher