115 Philosophy Quotes From The Best Philosophers

By Maxime Lagacé

Maxime is the founder of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm and peaceful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.

Here are 115 of the best philosophy quotes that will teach you more than a philosophy class.

What’s the goal?

To make you think deeply, but most importantly, to help you find a new philosophy of life from these great philosophers.

You’ll learn from Einstein, Goethe, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Thoreau, MLK, and many more.


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Philosophy is the science of truth. Aristotle

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Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know. Bertrand Russell

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Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it. Epictetus

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The philosopher’s product is his life. Friedrich Nietzsche

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My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate – that’s my philosophy. Thornton Wilder


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Philosophy teaches us to act, not to speak. Seneca

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We have philosophy professors, but no philosophers. Henry David Thoreau

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Learn to ask of all actions, “Why are they doing that?”, starting with your own. Marcus Aurelius

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To live without philosophizing is in truth the same as keeping the eyes closed without attempting to open them. René Descartes

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Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. Ambrose Bierce


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History is philosophy teaching by examples. Thucydides

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

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Philosophy is trying to make sense of what doesn’t. Maxime Lagacé

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Astonishment is the root of philosophy. Paul Tillich

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The three great things of life are: good health; work; and a philosophy of life. Jack London


The Best Philosophy Quotes

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philosophy quotes every man bears whole stamp human condition michel montaigne wisdom nature

Every man bears the whole stamp of the human condition. Michel de Montaigne

Be a philosopher but, amid all your philosophy be still a man. David Hume

I study myself more than any other subject. That is my metaphysics, that is my physics. Michel de Montaigne

Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect. Alan Watts

We are too weak to discover the truth by reason alone. Augustine of Hippo

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. Ludwig Wittgenstein

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. Francis Bacon

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. Neil deGrasse Tyson

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We study science to learn how to get what we want. We study philosophy to know what to want in the first place. Naval Ravikant

My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier. Anthony Hopkins

There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers. William James


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

There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means. Ryan Holiday

Philosophy is itself the disease for which it pretends to be the cure: the wise man does not pursue wisdom but lives his life, and therein precisely does his wisdom lie. Bruce Lee

Just as eating cow meat doesn’t turn you into a cow, studying philosophy doesn’t make you wiser. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. Ayn Rand

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The best philosophy of life I’ve found is this: just keep going. Maxime Lagacé

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 (The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Amazon book)

What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows. Epictetus

A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring. Ludwig Wittgenstein

A wise man does not converse for the sake of displaying his own intelligence. James Pierce

To philosophize is to learn how to die or to rise to divinity. Karl Jaspers

Real philosophy is to learn to see the world again. Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Part 2. Philosophy Quotes That Are…

The Most Famous Philosophy Quotes

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Searching for a famous philosophy quote? Check out those by Einstein, Plato, Aristotle, Beethoven, Montaigne, etc.
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Her philosophy is carpe diem for herself and laissez faire for others. F. Scott Fitzgerald

I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Albert Einstein

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. John Adams

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt

My condition is not unhappiness, but it is also not happiness, not indifference, not weakness, not fatigue, not another interest – so what is it then? Franz Kafka

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents. Ludwig van Beethoven

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

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My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. Oprah Winfrey

This is patently absurd; but whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities. Bertrand Russell

In the eyes of dialectical philosophy, nothing is established for all times, nothing is absolute or sacred. Karl Marx

How slow men are in matters when they believe they have time and how swift they are when necessity drives them to it. Niccolò Machiavelli

Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist, and have always existed, the same desires and passions. Niccolò Machiavelli

There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands. Plato

There is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life. Martin Luther King Jr

Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils; but present evils triumph over it. François de la Rochefoucauld

Broadly speaking, human beings may be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those are bored to death. Winston Churchill

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As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do. Andrew Carnegie

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. Socrates

Poetry is something more philosophic and serious than history; for poetry speaks of what is universal, history of what is particular. Aristotle

To live alone one must be an animal or a God – says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both – a philosopher. Friedrich Nietzsche

If a man’s good for nothing else, he can at least teach philosophy. William James

But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever. Jane Austen

A good philosopher makes a bad citizen. Napoleon Bonaparte

Related: What is Philosophy for? (5-minute YouTube video)

Inspirational Philosophy Quotes

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Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. Karl Marx

Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day. Brian Tracy

I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can. Jim Rohn

Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his image. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The endpoint of philosophy is childlike wonder. James Pierce (Source)

It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious. Stephen Hawking

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school…it is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. Henry David Thoreau

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To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralysed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it. Bertrand Russell

The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities, we will then be a happy and a virtuous people. Mark Twain

Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments. Isaac Asimov

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. 14th Dalai Lama

No one should postpone the study of philosophy when he is young, nor should he wear of it when he becomes mature, for the search for mental health is never untimely or out of season. Epicurus

To say that the time to study philosophy has not yet arrived or that it is past is like saying that the time for happiness is not yet at hand, or is no longer present. Epicurus

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The ones who let go are the ones who stay sane. Maxime Lagacé

Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature – nature is always value-less, but has been given value at some time, as a present – and it was we who gave and bestowed it. Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)

Intuition does not in itself amount to knowledge, yet cannot be disregarded by philosophers and psychologists. Corliss Lamont

There are three classes of men; the retrograde, the stationary and the progressive. Johann Kaspar Lavater

Always look at what people do, not who they are. Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road, Amazon book)


Deep Philosophy Quotes

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We are biological machines programmed to survive and replicate. Happy is anti-evolution. Naval Ravikant

To be human is above all to be sensitive. Alan Watts

It’s ok to not have a strong opinion on everything. Zuby

Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only they truly live. Not satisfied to merely keep good watch over their own days, they annex every age to their own. Seneca

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

A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education. George Bernard Shaw

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The things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. Diogenes

Desire, fundamentally, is a response to a feeling of incompleteness. James Pierce

Unexamined desires run rampant throughout the life of the average person. With these desires comes pain. James Pierce

A human being wants something that will fill the holes he feels within himself. James Pierce

We like explanations, we like theories, we indulge in speculative philosophy and we are carried away by all that. Jiddu Krishnamurti

Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant. Edgar Allan Poe

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The right philosophy is the one that will make you move forward. Maxime Lagacé

Are you actually living or is it the past living in the present? Jiddu Krishnamurti

It’s touching that almost everyone you meet, however outwardly accomplished, craves reassurance you like them and think they’re doing OK. Alain de Botton

There is no statement so absurd that no philosopher will make it. Cicero

There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people. G.K. Chesterton

Related: Six Ideas From Eastern Philosophy (8-minute YouTube video by The School of Life)

Wise Philosophy Quotes

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philosophy quotes read old young learn how live thibaut wisdom

Read philosophy. It is not for the old, but for the young to learn how to live. Thibaut

Inner peace is the final stage of philosophy. Maxime Lagacé

To become a philosopher, start by walking very slowly. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

You know you have influence when people start noticing your absence more than the presence of others. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. Mark Twain

Absurdity is one of the most human things about us: a manifestation of our most advanced and interesting characteristics. Thomas Nagel (Mortal Questions, Amazon book)

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The strongest intellectual foundation is built upon science, math, and philosophy, as they are the search for universal truths. Naval Ravikant

The only people we can think of as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. Alain de Botton

There may be significant things to learn about people by looking at what annoys them most. Alain de Botton

The desire to belong often overpowers the desire to improve. James Clear

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous. David Hume

The hunger for facile wisdom is the root of all false philosophy. George Santanaya

Related: EASTERN PHILOSOPHY – The Buddha (6-minute YouTube video by The School of Life)

Part 3. Conclusion

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The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next. Henry Ward Beecher

If you live long enough, you become a philosopher because you start trying to solve the big problems in your life. The big problems are the old ones — the ones we’ve been trying to solve since the beginning: How do I stay happy? How do I become healthy? How do I become wealthy? How do I raise the family I want? Naval Ravikant

Last words

As a lover of quotes, psychology, and philosophy myself, I’ve always been fascinated by how the old philosophers viewed life and how they dealt with it.

It seems a lost art nowadays to ponder deep philosophical and existential questions.

Happily, we still have access to those beautiful words.

In a sense, it’s reassuring and guiding to know how people like Nietzsche or Einstein approached their lives and struggles.

Like Buddha said, life is suffering and without a way of life and a philosophy of life, it can be hard to navigate it.

Further Readings

Hope you enjoyed these beautiful philosophy quotes. If you did, please share them with a friend today!

What’s your favorite philosophy quote? And remember: words can transform your life, if you find the right ones.

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Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He started journaling, reflecting, writing his thoughts, feelings and quotes.

His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal.

A few years later, he started his first website to share his love of quotes.

Maxime is a father of two, husband, and INFJ.

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, bananas, SEO, human potential, and education.

You can find him on X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Last update

October 27, 2022

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