Quotes on Philosophy

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The man who said that one cannot step into the same river twice said something wrong; one can step into the same river twice.
 
When you are philosophizing you have to descend into primeval chaos and feel at home there.
 
Philosophical problems can be compared to locks on safes, which can be opened by dialing a certain word or number, so that no force can open the door until just this word has been hit upon, and once it is hit upon any child can open it.
 
Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give any foundation either. It leaves everything as it is.
 
The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know.
 
Philosophers who know only philosophy consign themselves to a janitorial role in the great enterprises of exploration that are illuminating the mysteries of our lives.
 
The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science, i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other - he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy - but it would be the only strictly correct method. My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
 
Most of the propositions and questions to be found in philosophical works are not false but nonsensical.
 
The philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.
 
Il metodo giusto per la filosofia sarebbe questo. Non dire nulla se non ciò che si può dire, cioè le proposizioni della scienza naturale, cioè qualcosa che non ha nulla a che fare con la filosofia: e poi sempre, quando qualcun altro volesse dire qualcosa di metafisico, dimostrargli che non ha dato alcun significato a certi segni nelle sue proposizioni. Questo metodo sarebbe insoddisfacente per l'altro - non avrebbe la sensazione che gli stiamo insegnando la filosofia - ma sarebbe l'unico metodo rigorosamente corretto. Le mie proposizioni sono elucidative in questo modo: chi mi capisce le riconosce finalmente come insensate, quando si è arrampicato attraverso di esse, su di esse, su di esse. (Deve per così dire gettare via la scala, dopo esservi salito). Deve superare queste proposizioni; allora vede il mondo in modo corretto. Se non si può parlare, si deve tacere.
 
Philosophy is an unusually stubborn attempt to think clearly.
 
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
 
The philosopher treats a question; like an illness.
 
For philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.
 
What is the use of studying philosophy if all that it does for you is to enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions of logic, etc., & if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life, if it does not make you more conscientious than any ... journalist in the use of the DANGEROUS phrases such people use for their own ends.
 
Philosophy should make clear and delimit sharply the thoughts which otherwise are, as it were, opaque and blurred.
 
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.
 
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.
 
In the past two decades anthropologists have gathered data on life and death in pre-state societies rather than accepting the warm and fuzzy stereotypes. What did they find? In a nutshell: Hobbes was right, Rousseau was wrong.
 
The philosophical I is not the man, not the human body or the human soul of which psychology treats, but the metaphysical subject, the limit - not a part of the world.
 
A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring.
 
Reading the Socratic dialogues one has the feeling: what a frightful waste of time! What's the point of these arguments that prove nothing and clarify nothing?
 
There are portions of the sovereign people who spend most of their spare time and spare money on motoring and comparing motor cars, on bridge-whist and post-mortems, on moving pictures and potboilers, talking always to the same people with minute variations on the same old themes. They cannot really be said to suffer from censorship, or secrecy, the high cost or the difficulty of communication. They suffer from anemia, from lack of appetite and curiosity for the human scene. Theirs is no problem of access to the world outside. Worlds of interest are waiting for them to explore, and they do not enter.
 
The philosopher is not a citizen of any community of ideas, that is what makes him a 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.
 
The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments.
 
To be a real philosopher all that is necessary is to hate some one else's type of thinking.
 
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
 
We philosophers are mistake specialists.
 
The object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a theory but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. The result of philosophy is not a number of “philosophical propositions”, but to make propositions clear. Philosophy should make clear and delimit sharply the thoughts which otherwise are, as it were, opaque and blurred.
 
There is nothing more dangerous than a philosopher who wants to change the world
 
Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity.
 
What we find in philosophy is trivial; it does not teach us new facts, only science does that.
 
Still, it will sometimes strike a scientific man that the philosophers have been less intent on finding out what the facts are, than on inquiring what belief is most in harmony with their system.
 
This sort of thing has got to be stopped. Bad philosophers are like slum landlords. It's my job to put them out of business.
 
The philosopher's treatment of a question is like the treatment of an illness.
 
Specialization may be a great temptation for the scientist. For the philosopher it is the mortal sin.
 
Russell's books should be bound in two colours, those dealing with mathematical logic in red — and all students of philosophy should read them; those dealing with ethics and politics in blue — and no one should be allowed to read them.
 
If we surrender the reins to language and not to life, then the problems of philosophy arise.
 
More wisdom is contained in the best crime fiction than in philosophy.
 
I appeal to the philosophers of all countries to unite and never again mention Heidegger or talk to another philosopher who defends Heidegger. This man was a devil. I mean, he behaved like a devil to his beloved teacher, and he has a devilish influence on Germany. ... One has to read Heidegger in the original to see what a swindler he was.
 
Most propositions and questions, that have been written about philosophical matters, are not false, but senseless. ... (They are of the same kind as the question whether the Good is more or less identical than the Beautiful.)
 
I think so badly of philosophy that I don't like to talk about it. ... I do not want to say anything bad about my dear colleagues, but the profession of teacher of philosophy is a ridiculous one. We don't need a thousand of trained, and badly trained, philosophers — it is very silly. Actually most of them have nothing to say.
 
Philosophers' Syndrome: mistaking a failure of the imagination for an insight into necessity.
 
The sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of language.
 
Our craving for generality has [as one] source … our preoccupation with the method of science. I mean the method of reducing the explanation of natural phenomena to the smallest possible number of primitive natural laws; and, in mathematics, of unifying the treatment of different topics by using a generalization. Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness. I want to say here that it can never be our job to reduce anything to anything, or to explain anything. Philosophy really is “purely descriptive.”
 
I am a philosopher, not a scientist, and we philosophers are better at questions than answers.
 
I am what I am because of who we all are. (Principle of Ubuntu philosophy)
 
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