Quotes on Philosophy

“Speaking seriously, there are good reasons why all philosophical dogmatizing, however solemn and definitive its airs used to be, may nevertheless have been no more than a noble childishness and tyronism…(based on) some play of words perhaps, a seduction by grammar, or an audacious generalization of very narrow, very personal, very human, all too human facts.” And “What provokes one to look at all philosophers half suspiciously, half mockingly, is not that one discovers again and again how innocent they are – how often and how easily they make mistakes and go astray; in short, their childishness and childlikeness – but that they are not honest enough in their work, although they all make a lot of virtuous noise when the problem of truthfulness is touched even remotely.” .. “Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir; also that the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy constituted the real germ from which the whole plant had grown.” .. “To be sure: among scholars who are really scientific men, things may be different – ‘better’ if you like…” And much later “..I found among young scholars that what lay behind the arrogant contempt for philosophy was the bad aftereffect of  – a philosopher to whom they now denied allegiance on the whole without, however, having broken the spell of his cutting evaluation of other philosophers – with the result of an over-all irritation with philosophy.”..”Finally: how could it really be otherwise? Science is flourishing today and her good conscience is written all over her face, while the level to which all modern philosophy has gradually sunk, this rest of philosophy today, invites mistrust and displeasure, if not mockery and pity.” – Nietzsche

“From its earliest beginnings philosophy has claimed to be rigorous science. What is more, it has claimed to be the science that satisfies the loftiest theoretical needs and renders possible from an ethico-religious point of view a life regulated by pure rational norms” but “During no period of its development has philosophy been capable of living up to this claim of being rigorous science” – Husserl

“philosophy is inherently criticism, having its distinctive position among various modes of criticism in its generality; a criticism of criticisms, as it were…” – Dewey

“The philosophic attempt takes every word, and every phrase, in the verbal expression of thought, and asks, What does it mean?” – Whitehead

“The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty.” – Russell

“Philosophy is concerned with tracing the limits of language and therefore of thought from within….  a fight against the fascination which forms of expression exert upon us….. It deals with reality as it is simultaneously given to us and distorted in language.” – Wittgenstein

“Everyone considers the assertion correct that philosophy is a matter of reason. However, this assertion is perhaps a premature and hasty answer to the question, “What is philosophy?” for we can immediately oppose new questions to this answer. What is reason?” – Heidigger

“It should now be sufficiently clear that if the philosopher is to uphold his claim to make a special contribution to the  stock of our knowledge, he must not attempt to formulate speculative truths, or to look for first principles, or to make a priori judgments about the validity of our empirical beliefs. He must, in fact, confine himself to works of clarification and analysis….” – Ayer

“It is well to remind ourselves that no effort of analytic philosophy to provide strictly necessary and sufficient conditions for a philosophically interesting concept has ever succeeded.” – Lycan

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