philosophy

philosophy


Will Durant Quotes About the Meaning of Life

quotes about the meaning of life June 30th, 2018

Will Durant was one of America’s greatest intellectuals. He lived from 1885 to 1981. In his long, varied, and distinguished career, he taught, wrote, earned a doctorate in philosophy, and came to know many of the most important and elusive truths. His interest in history was as salient than his love of philosophy, for he is best known for his book the massive, 11-volume set The Story of Civilization, his take on significant historical happenings and patterns (which he published with his lifelong interlocutor, his wife Ariel). They won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the work. Only slightly less remarkable was The Story of Philosophy, which detailed the lives and works of a dozen of the most impactful philosophers throughout history, such as Plato and Nietzsche. Durant was truly a remarkable man; we are so lucky he lived to the ripe old age he did, and that he was a philosopher, historian, teacher and writer – and not a banker or a tennis player or a gambler. This blog is about Will Durant’s quotes about the meaning of life from his superb book on the subject.

Read More

Quotes About Wisdom, Philosophy, & Neuroscience

quotes about wisdom June 15th, 2018

Stephen S. Hall put out a very complete and (to me) compelling book entitled Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. In it, he does a fine job of laying out a history of the subject, some of the hallmarks of what it is and what it isn’t, and brings some scientific findings in to enlighten and broaden the view. In this blog, I share some information considered to be “reviews” and then include many quotes about wisdom from the book. These are little-known, broad, intelligible, useful quotations, so I hope you appreciate them and add them to your collection. Oh, and read the book!

Read More

Existentialism: Authenticity vs. ‘Bad Faith’

authenticity May 3rd, 2018

In a prior post entitled “Existentialism, Humanism, Responsibility, and Freedom,” I examined meaning in life, Jean-Paul Sartre, existence, etc. In this blog, I would like to go a little further toward examining authenticity vs. the idea of “bad faith.” It will hopefully generate more light than it does heat as far as living one’s life with success, passion, deliberateness, and insight. As always, wisdom is about the highest goal, and happiness is not far behind. 

Read More

Death Can Lead to Authenticity and Passion

death April 30th, 2018

Morrie Schwartz was an interesting fellow who was dying, and was visited many times by a former student. Their relationship and the advice and insight Morrie provided Mitch Albom, the student-turned-writer, made for a very popular book, Tuesdays with Morrie. This was just one in a long line of books and movies that deal with death. Though death can be perceived as frightening, an appalling deprivation of one’s life, and the ultimate loss of control, it can also have a positive side. This blog explores the positive side of death, showing that it can lead to living more authentically and passionately. This is the heart of existentialism.

Read More

Twenty-Five Little-Known Wisdom Quotes

wisdom April 27th, 2018

What is wisdom? It’s one of the deepest, widest, most elusive, most complex, simplest, most intriguing concepts around. When you think you know what wisdom is, you’re not quite there; it cannot be pursued and grasped or taught and learned easily. It has long been the province of philosophers and theologians, but recently psychologists have begun to try to define, describe, and delineate this nebulous and fascinating idea. Here are twenty-five little-known quotes about wisdom that I imagine you would find worth your time. Think of them more like a little puzzle piece that takes time to understand, interpret, grasp, and appreciate than to envision each being a simple rule that can be easily memorized. More wisdom quotes can be found by searching The Wisdom Archive – a searchable quotation database that is always no-cost, easy, and ad-free!

Read More

Two Types of Values and Their Relevance

values April 23rd, 2018

British moral philosopher Bernard Williams (1929-2003) believed that categorical desires are those desires and aspirations that buoy us, give our lives deeper meaning, and really matter. The rest are mere ancillary and contingent desires. In Williams’ words, he believes we must have “systematic desires around which one organizes life activities which make life worthwhile.” Desires can give life meaning if wisely-placed. At least for a while. This blog will briefly summarize and reflect on the kinds of values human beings hold, and how positioning certain values front-and-center can be inspirational and motivational.

Read More

Existentialism, Humanism, Responsibility and Freedom

existentialism April 13th, 2018

I am taking a wonderful class entitled “Meaning in Life.” It deals with meaning, obviously, and personal significance, purpose, fulfillment, death, and philosophy. My professor is named Mattias Risse and he’s really quite erudite. The topic I wanted to write about follows a lecture of his about renowned existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. Ancillary topics are scientism, truth, and ethics. The background is in the era of 1900-1960, thinkers such as inimitable philosopher Bertrand Russell and the French intellectual Sartre were trying to find meaning and purpose in a secular-humanistic way. Much later, philosopher Robert Nozick made some improvements to their work. None wanted to slide into radical scientism as much as they didn’t want to resort to theological/religious assumptions. Indeed, Sartre penned a significant essay entitled “Existentialism is a Humanism”, and this is a medium-length encapsulation of how Sarte believes ethics is part and parcel of a developed form of existentialism.

Read More

Passionate Proponent of Progress: Marquis de Condorcet

progress March 21st, 2018

Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, known as the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), was a  French philosopher of the Enlightenment. He was also an amazingly progressive and early proponent of women’s rights and educational reform. Condorcet did much of the heavy lifting in bringing the ideas of progress, or the indefinite perfectibility of humankind, to the fore. History has much benefitted from his courage, grace, and intelligence. He also has a very interesting denouement – to use a French word! – and I will share that shortly.

Read More

Ten of History’s Greatest Thinkers

greatest thinkers March 19th, 2018

Perhaps you know of the eminent historian, writer, and psychologist/philosopher/anthropologist all rolled into one, Will Durant. He died in the late twentieth century, but was truly a man of letters and a wonderful writer. I found a neat little book, compiled after his death by John Little. It is a compilation of his writings that involved rankings of merit. The first real chapter in the book is “The Ten Greatest Thinkers,” though the two men put greatest in quotation marks, as I suppose they should, since great is really a subjective term. My intention in this blog is to share which ten men (yes, they are all men) he thinks shine the brightest among history’s renowned philosophers and scientists, and include a quote of each.

Read More

Fifty Nifty Insightful, Inspirational Quotes

inspirational quotes March 19th, 2018

Over the last 25 years, I have carefully collected a very diverse array of quotations – 30,000 as of this writing. With that kind of carefully-compiled database of quotes about values, wisdom, virtue, character, and self-growth, it is easy to pull together lists of quotes (and I make it just as easy for you to do the same!). This blog features fifty nifty motivational, inspirational quotes. They will help you to re-focus, appreciate your life, see things from a more philosophical perspective, and be a better person. One of the best motivational quotes through the centuries has been Gandhi’s, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” but I now present you with fifty additional inspirational quotes:

Read More