Philosophical Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 220 quotes )
Sissy: You really don't believe in political solutions do you? The Chink: I believe in political solutions to political problems. But man's primary problems aren't political; they're philosophical. Until humans can solve their philosophical problems, they're condemned to solve their political problems over and over and over again. It's a cruel, repetitious bore. Sissy: Well, then, what are the philosophical solutions? The Chink: Ha ha ho ho and hee hee. That's for you to find out. I'll say this much and no more: there's got to be poetry. And magic. At every level. If civilization is ever going to be anything but a grandiose pratfall, anything more than a can of deodorizer in the shithouse of existence, then statesmen are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry. Bankers are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry. Time magazine is going to have to write about magic and poetry. Factory workers and housewives are going to have to get their lives entangled in magic and poetry. Sissy: Do you think such a thing can ever happen? The Chink: If you understood poetry and magic, you'd know that it doesn't matter.
Philosophy is a necessary activity because we, all of us, take a great number of things for granted, and many of these assumptions are of a philosophical character; we act on them in private life, in politics, in our work, and in every other sphere of our lives -- but while some of these assumptions are no doubt true, it is likely, that more are false and some are harmful. So the critical examination of our presuppositions -- which is a philosophical activity -- is morally as well as intellectually important.
Cesar is not a philosophical man. His life has been one long flight from reflection. At least he is clever enough not to expose the poverty of his general ideas; he never permits the conversation to move toward philosophical principles. Men of his type so dread all deliberation that they glory in the practice of the instantaneous decision. They think they are saving themselves from irresolution; in reality they are sparing themselves the contemplation of all the consequences of their acts. Moreover, in this way they can rejoice in the illusion of never having made a mistake; for act follows so swiftly on act that it is impossible to reconstruct the past and say that an alternative decision would have been better. They can pretend that every act was forced on them under emergency and that every decision was mothered by necessity
I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today - and even professional scientists - seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is - in my opinion - the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
If we wanted to construct a basic philosophical attitude from these scientific utterances of Pauli's, at first we would be inclined to infer from them an extreme rationalism and a fundamentally skeptical point of view. In reality however, behind this outward display of criticism and skepticism lay concealed a deep philosophical interest even in those dark areas of reality of the human soul which elude the grasp of reason. And while the power of fascination emanating from Pauli's analyses of physical problems was admittedly due in some measure to the detailed and penetrating clarity of his formulations, the rest was derived from a constant contact with the field of creative spiritual processes, for which no rational formulation as yet exists.
Even those novelists most commonly deemed “philosophical” have sometimes answered with an emphatic no. Iris Murdoch, the longtime Oxford philosopher and author of some two dozen novels treating highbrow themes like consciousness and morality, argued that philosophy and literature were contrary pursuits. Philosophy calls on the analytical mind to solve conceptual problems in an “austere, unselfish, candid” prose, she said in a BBC interview broadcast in 1978, while literature looks to the imagination to show us something “mysterious, ambiguous, particular” about the world. Any appearance of philosophical ideas in her own novels was an inconsequential reflection of what she happened to know. “If I knew about sailing ships I would put in sailing ships,” she said. “And in a way, as a novelist, I would rather know about sailing ships than about philosophy.
So, when I write a piece of fiction I select my characters and settings and so on because they have a bearing, at least to me, on the old unanswerable philosophical questions. And as I spin out the action, I’m always very concerned with springing discoveries -- actual philosophical discoveries. But at the same time I’m concerned -- and finally more concerned -- with what the discoveries do to the character who makes them, and to the people around him. It’s that that makes me not really a philosopher, but a novelist.
In actual fact, however, the revolt of Ibsen and Shaw against the conventional nineteenth century drama could very well be described as a return to Shakespeare, as an attempt once again to present human beings in their historical and social setting and not, as playwrights since the Restoration had done, either as wholly private or as embodiments of the social manners of a tiny class. Shakespeare’s plays, it is true, are not, in the Shavian sense, "dramas of thought," that is to say, not one of his characters is an intellectual: it is true, as Shaw says, that, when stripped of their wonderful diction, the philosophical and moral views expressed by his characters are commonplaces, but the number of people in any generation or society whose thoughts are not commonplace is very small indeed. On the other hand, there is hardly one of his plays which does not provide unending food for thought, if one cares to think about it.
This book is merely a personal narrative, and not a pretentious history or a philosophical dissertation. It is a record of several years of variegated vagabondizing, and it's object is rather to help the resting reader while away an idle hour than afflict him with metaphysics, or goad him with science.
What you believe matters, however. It’s all anyone has to act on. And since what you do is who you are, your actions define you. If you don’t believe anything is true simply because you can’t logically prove what’s true, you won’t do anything. You won’t be anything. You’ll end up spending your life in a rocking chair looking out at the horizon waiting for an answer that never comes. You might as well be dead. It’s an old philosophical problem.
This morning, thanks to a controlled near-death experience, I was lucky enough to meet, at the far end of the blue tunnel, a man named Salvatore Biagini. Last July 8th, Mr. Biagini, a retired construction worker, age seventy, suffered a fatal heart attack while rescuing his beloved schnauzer, Teddy, from an assault by an unrestrained pit bull named Chele, in Queens. The pit bull, with no previous record of violence against man or beast, jumped a four-foot fence in order to have at Teddy. Mr. Biagini, an unarmed man with a history of heart trouble, grabbed him, allowing the schnauzer to run away. So the pit bull bit Mr. Biagini in several places and then Mr. Biagini's heart quit beating, never to beat again. I asked this heroic pet lover how it felt to have died for a schnauzer named Teddy. Salvador Biagini was philosophical. He said it sure as heck beat dying for absolutely nothing in the Viet Nam War.
The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
There is scarcely any great author in European literature, old or new, who has not distinguished himself in his treatment of the supernatural. In English literature, I believe there is no exception from the time of the Anglo-Saxon poets to Shakespeare, and from Shakespeare to our own day. And this introduces us to the consideration of a general and remarkable fact, a fact that I do not remember to have seen in any books, but which is of very great philosophical importance: there is something ghostly in all great art, whether of literature, music, sculpture, or architecture. It touches something within us that relates to infinity
The moment in The Bell Jar when Esther Greenwood realizes after thirty days in the same black turtleneck that she never wants to wash her hair again, that the repeated necessity of the act is too much trouble, that she wants to do it once and be done with it, seems like the book's true epiphany. You know you've completely descended into madness when the matter of shampoo has ascended into philosophical heights.
If you thought you were trying to find out more about it because you're gonna get an answer to some deep philosophical question...you may be wrong! It may be that you can't get an answer to that particular question by finding out more about the character of nature. But my interest in science is to simply find out about the world.
Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my existence, and to what condition shall I return? ... I am confounded with all these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty. Most fortunately it happens, that since Reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, Nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation, and lively impression of my senses, which obliterate all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends. And when, after three or four hours' amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther.
I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense…. Schopenhauer’s saying, ‘A man can do what he wants, but not will what he wants,’ has been a very real inspiration to me since my youth; it has been a continual consolation in the face of life’s hardships, my own and others’, and an unfailing wellspring of tolerance. This realization mercifully mitigates the easily paralyzing sense of responsibility and prevents us from taking ourselves and other people too seriously; it is conducive to a view of life which, in part, gives humour its due.
It was Plato who bridged the gap between poetry and philosophy; for, in his work, appearance, despised by his Eleatic and Sophist predecessors, became a reflected image of perfection. He set poets the task of writing philosophically, not only in the sense of giving instruction, but in the sense of striving, by the imitation of appearance, to arrive at its true essence and to show its insufficiency measured by the beauty of the Idea.
In the sort of screen dappled with different states of mind which my consciousness would simultaneously unfold while I read, and which ranged from the aspirations hidden deepest within me to the completely exterior vision of the horizon which I had, at the bottom of the garden, before my eyes, what was first in me, innermost, the constantly moving handle that controlled the rest, was my belief in the philosophical richness and beauty of the book I was reading, and my desire to appropriate them for myself, whatever that book might be.