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date: 07 December 2023


see also Logic
  1. To ask the hard question is simple.
    W. H. Auden 1907–73 English poet: title of poem (1933)
  2. The Socratic manner is not a game at which two can play.
    Max Beerbohm 1872–1956 English critic, essayist, and caricaturist: Zuleika Dobson (1911) ch. 15
  3. Metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct; but to find these reasons is no less an instinct.
    F. H. Bradley 1846–1924 English philosopher: Appearance and Reality (1893) preface
  4. There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.
    Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) 106–43 bc Roman orator and statesman: De Divinatione bk. 2, ch. 119
  5. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.
    Oliver Edwards 1711–91 English lawyer: James Boswell Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 17 April 1778
  6. When philosophy paints its grey on grey, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy's grey on grey it cannot be rejuvenated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.
    G. W. F. Hegel 1770–1831 German idealist philosopher: Philosophy of Right (1821, tr. T. M. Knox, 1952)
  7. I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.
    Steve Jobs 1955–2011 American computer executive: in Newsweek 22 October 2001
  8. The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx 1818–83 German political philosopher: Theses on Feuerbach (written 1845, published 1888) no. 11
  9. No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary.
    ‘Occam's Razor’, an ancient philosophical principle often attributed to Occam but earlier in origin
    William of Occam c.1285–1349 English Franciscan friar and philosopher: not found in this form in his writings, although he frequently used similar expressions, e.g. ‘Plurality should not be assumed unnecessarily’; Quodlibeta (c.1324)
  10. Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?
    Harold Pinter 1930–2008 English dramatist: The Homecoming (1965) act 2, sc. 1
  11. The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.
    Bertrand Russell 1872–1970 British philosopher and mathematician: The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (1918)
  12. The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the cooperation or consent of his deliberate reason.
    Bertrand Russell 1872–1970 British philosopher and mathematician: The Problems of Philosophy (1912) ch. 15
  13. The unexamined life is not worth living.
    Socrates 469–399 bc Greek philosopher: Plato Apology 38a
  14. Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.
    Voltaire 1694–1778 French writer and philosopher: Dictionnaire philosophique (1764) ‘Superstition’
  15. The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
    Alfred North Whitehead 1861–1947 English philosopher and mathematician: Process and Reality (1929) pt. 2, ch. 1
  16. What is your aim in philosophy?—To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889–1951 Austrian-born philosopher: Philosophical Investigations (1953) pt. 1, sect. 309
  17. A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889–1951 Austrian-born philosopher: said in about 1930, M. O'C. Drury ‘Conversations with Wittgenstein’ in Rush Rhees (ed.) Ludwig Wittgenstein: Personal Recollections (1981)