An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





The first key to wisdom is constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.


Peter Abelard (1079-1142, French philosopher, priest)


Unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.


Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918, American historian)


A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


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 (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.


St. Thomas Aquinas


The traditional disputes of philosophers are, for the most part, as unwarranted as they are unfruitful.


Alfred Jules Ayer (1910-1989, British philosopher)


We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


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.


Savinien Cyrano De Bergerac (1619-1655, French satirist, playwright)


Existentialism is about being a saint without God; being your own hero, without all the sanction and support of religion or society.


Anita Brookner (1938-, British novelist, art historian)


Look, I really don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive, you got to flap your arms and legs, you got to jump around a lot, you got to make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death. And therefore, as I see it, if you're quiet, you're not living. You've got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively.


Mel Brooks (1926-, American actor, director)


Real philosophy seeks rather to solve than to deny.


Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873, British novelist, poet)


One may summon his philosophy when they are beaten in battle, not till then.


John Burroughs (1837-1921, American naturalist, author)


Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates -- but pages might be filled up, as vainly as before, with the sad usage of all sorts of sages, who in his life-time, each was deemed a bore! The loftiest minds outrun their tardy ages.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


The profoundest thoughts of the philosophers have something trickle about them. A lot disappears in order for something to suddenly appear in the palm of the hand.


Elias Canetti (1905-1994, Austrian novelist, 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 trainer, author, "How to Win Friends and Influence People")


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 trainer, author, "How to Win Friends and Influence People")


To philosophize is only another way of being afraid and leads hardly anywhere but to cowardly make-believe.


Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961, French author)


Philosophy, like medicine, has plenty of drugs, few good remedies, and hardly any specific cures.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


The most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Rightly defined philosophy is simply the love of wisdom.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not already said it.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


Philosophy 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, British sportsman writer)


Aristotle is famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.


Will Cuppy


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


Rene Descartes (1596-1650, French philosopher, scientist)


Philosophers are only men in armor after all.


Charles Dickens (1812-1870, British novelist)


The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.


Denis Diderot (1713-1784, French philosopher)


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 (1572-1632, British metaphysical poet)


I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.


Oliver Edwards


Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated about among men of thought.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


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.1466-1536, Dutch humanist)


If I wished to punish a province, I would have it governed by philosophers.


(Frederick II) Frederick The Great (1712-1786, Born in Berlin, King of Prussia (1740-1786),)


Philosophy goes no further than probabilities, and in every assertion keeps a doubt in reserve.


James A. Froude (1818-1894, British historian)


The philosophers must station themselves in the middle.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


There is nothing so absurd or ridiculous that has not at some time been said by some philosopher. Fontenelle says he would undertake to persuade the whole public of readers to believe that the sun was neither the cause of light or heat, if he could only get six philosophers on his side.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.


Georg Hegel (1770-1831, German philosopher)


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 gnome mine unweave a rainbow.


John Keats (1795-1821, British poet)


I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds.


William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, author)


Philosophy is at once the most sublime and the most trivial of human pursuits.


William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, author)


To be a real philosopher all that is necessary is to hate some one else's type of thinking.


William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, author)


While wading through the whimsies, the puerilities, and unintelligible jargon of this work [Plato's Republic], I laid it down often to ask myself how it could have been that the world should have so long consented to give reputation to such nonsense as this?


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


If he really thinks there is no distinction between vice and virtue, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Philosophy always requires something more, requires the eternal, the true, in contrast to which even the fullest existence as such is but a happy moment.


Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855, Danish philosopher, writer)


Philosophy is doubt.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


Actual philosophers... are commanders and law-givers: they say "thus it shall be!", it is they who determine the Wherefore and Whither of mankind, and they possess for this task the preliminary work of all the philosophical laborers, of all those who have subdued the past -- they reach for the future with creative hand, and everything that is or has been becomes for them a means, an instrument, a hammer.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Philosophy easily triumphs over past and future evils; but present evils triumph over it.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


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 (1921-1996, American actor)


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 C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


When philosophers try to be politicians they generally cease to be philosophers.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


There is no philosophy without the art of ignoring objections.


Joseph De Maistre (1753-1821, French diplomat, philosopher)


Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory -- the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have out paper allegories but ill comprehended.


Herman Melville (1819-1891, American author)


Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he also usually proves that he is one himself.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


There is no record in history of a happy philosopher.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


How charming is divine philosophy! Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, but musical as is Apollo's lute, and a perpetual feast of nectared sweets, where no crude surfeit reigns.


John Milton (1608-1674, British poet)


Extremity of philosophy is hurtful.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


In philosophy if you aren't moving at a snail's pace you aren't moving at all.


Iris Murdoch (1919-, British novelist, philosopher)


Philosophy! Empty thinking by ignorant conceited men who think they can digest without eating!


Iris Murdoch (1919-, British novelist, philosopher)


Every philosophy is the philosophy of some stage of life.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Plato was a bore.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the whole, in the building: posterity discovers it in the bricks with which he built and which are then often used again for better building: in the fact, that is to say, that building can be destroyed and nonetheless possess value as material.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


The origins of disputes between philosophers is, that one class of them have undertaken to raise man by displaying his greatness, and the other to debase him by showing his miseries.


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, French scientist, religious philosopher)


To have no time for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, French scientist, religious philosopher)


Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?


Harold Pinter (1930-, British playwright, director)


Philosophy is an elegant thing, if anyone modestly meddles with it; but if they are conversant with it more than is becoming, it corrupts them.


Plato (BC 427?-347?, Greek philosopher)


Philosophers should consider the fact that the greatest happiness principle can easily be made an excuse for a benevolent dictatorship. We should replace it by a more modest and more realistic principle -- the principle that the fight against avoidable misery should be a recognized aim of public policy, while the increase of happiness should be left, in the main, to private initiative.


Karl Popper (1902-1994, Australian philosopher)


Philosophy may be dodged, eloquence cannot.


Edgar Quinet (1803-1875, French poet, historian, politician)


The philosophic spirit of inquiry may be traced to brute curiosity, and that to the habit of examining all things in search of food.


Winwood W. Reade (1838-1875, American writer)


The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and spends what is left; the poor spends their money and invest what is left.


Jim Rohn (American businessman, author, speaker, philosopher)

Author's website:


Your philosophy determines whether you will go for the disciplines or continue the errors.


Jim Rohn (American businessman, author, speaker, philosopher)

Author's website:


The usual picture of Socrates is of an ugly little plebeian who inspired a handsome young nobleman to write long dialogues on large topics.


Richard Rorty (1931-, American philosopher)


Take from the philosopher the pleasure of being heard and his desire for knowledge ceases.


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778, Swiss political philosopher, educationist, essayist)


Philosophers call God "the great unknown" "The great misknown" is more like it!


Joseph Roux (1834-1905, French priest, writer)


Bad philosophers may have a certain influence; good philosophers, never.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, essayist)


The ultimate triumph of philosophy would be to cast light upon the mysterious ways in which Providence moves to achieve the designs it has for man.


Marquis De Sade (1740-1814, French author)


The ultimate triumph of philosophy would be to cast light upon the mysterious ways in which Providence moves to achieve the designs it has for man.


Marquis De Sade (1740-1814, French author)


There is today -- in a time when old beliefs are withering -- a kind of philosophical hunger, a need to know who we are and how we got here. It is an on-going search, often unconscious, for a cosmic perspective for humanity.


Carl Edward Sagan (1934-, American astronomer, author)


Philosophy is nothing but discretion.


John Selden (1584-1654, British jurist, statesman)


Philosophy does not regard pedigree, she received Plato not as a noble, but she made him one.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


The philosopher is Nature's pilot. And there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


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, British writer, clergyman)


Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.


Socrates (BC 469-399, Greek philosopher of Athens)


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


Wallace Stevens (1879-1955, American poet)


The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.


Wallace Stevens (1879-1955, American poet)


Reason, progress, unselfishness, a wide historical perspective, expansiveness, generosity, enlightened self-interest. I had heard it all my life, and it filled me with despair.


Katherine Tait


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)


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 (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing about the origin and destiny of cats?


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


If Tom Sawyer had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Keep quiet and people will think you a philosopher.


Author Unknown


Many talk like philosophers yet live like fools.


Author Unknown


A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


The pursuit of what is true and the practice of what is good are the two most important objects of philosophy.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


When he who hears does not know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks does not know what he himself means, that is philosophy.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


Philosophy is not a theory but an activity.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


The real discovery is the one which enables me to stop doing philosophy when I want to. -- The one that gives philosophy peace, so that it is no longer tormented by questions which bring itself into question.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


The proper method of philosophy consists in clearly conceiving the insoluble problems in all their insolubility and then in simply contemplating them, fixedly and tirelessly, year after year, without any hope, patiently waiting.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


Every philosophy is tinged with the coloring of some secret imaginative background, which never emerges explicitly into its train of reasoning.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


Philosophy is the product of wonder.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


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 philosopher)


Englishmen are babes in philosophy and so prefer faction-fighting to the labor of its unfamiliar thought.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939, Irish poet, playwright.)


Being a philosopher, I have a problem for every solution.


Robert Zend


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