125 Thought-Provoking Philosophical Quotes to Inspire You

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Have you ever found yourself marveling at the ideas of a famous philosopher? If you did, we have a very special treat for you. In the following, you can find some of the most important philosophical quotes from the most famous philosophers of all time. Enjoy reading! P.S.: Be sure not to miss our selection of insightful Socrates quotes.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, there have always been curious individuals who were eager to investigate the central questions about existence. Their ambition to study various aspects of life to gain a deeper understanding led to the earliest traces of philosophical thoughts and led to the pursuit of wisdom.

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
Epictetus

Out of the quest for knowledge slowly emerged Philosophy, which is Greek for “love of wisdom.” Over time, the various philosophical methods such as questioning, articulating problems, rational argument, and critical discussion became more and more refined.

Philosophical quotes

These philosophical quotes are filled with wisdom about existence

The beauty of philosophy is that it poses thought-provoking questions and inspires us to think deeply about ourselves and life in general. Even more so, pondering about the ideas and perspectives outlined by different philosophers can help us to gain a better understanding of the world we live in.

Among the vast sea of philosophical thoughts, it can be quite difficult to identify the pearls of wisdom and the hidden gems. To help you save yourself a lot of time and energy, we have collected for you some of the most inspirational thoughts of some of the greatest philosophers that ever walked this earth.

125 Thought-Provoking Philosophical Quotes

Breaking complex subjects down and condensing their essence within a couple of sentences is a great art. Thanks to their exceptional observational skills, many philosophers have been able to do exactly that. As such, they have been able to deliver potent arguments and observations about many aspects of life.

The following collection of thought-provoking and inspirational philosophical quotes is an excellent starting place to expose yourself with liberating and sometimes even mindbending philosophies. We hope you enjoy reading this collection of hand-selected wisdom by some of the finest philosophers of all time.

Here’s our selection of the most important philosophical quotes

1.

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
Christopher Markus

Hardship quote

2.

“There is no easy way from the earth to the stars.”
Seneca

Seneca quote

3.

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Philosophical quote

4.

“Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.”
Voltaire

Quote by Voltaire

5.

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Marcus Aurelius

Power over your mind quote

6.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
Victor Frankl

7.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
Baruch Spinoza

8.

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Bruce Lee

9.

“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”
Ayn Rand

10.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
Albert Einstein

Do you want even more philosophical quotes? Read on…

11.

“Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward .”
Søren Kierkegaard

12.

“Man is a mystery. It needs to be unraveled, and if you spend your whole life unraveling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky

13.

“The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.”
Lao Tzu

14.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Marcus Aurelius

15.

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”
Aristotle

16.

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
Plato

17.

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

18.

“It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth.”
John Locke

19.

“The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”
Socrates

20.

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”
Isaac Asimov

21.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
Marcus Aurelius

22.

“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one’s desires, but by the removal of desire.”
Epictetus

23.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Marcus Aurelius

24.

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.”
Epicurus

25.

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
Søren Kierkegaard

26.

“Happiness is the highest good.”
Aristotle

27.

“The brave man is he who overcomes not only his enemies but his pleasures.”
Democritus

28.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

29.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

30.

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
Stephen Hawking

Philosophical quotes like this are full of wisdom

31.

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
Lao Tsu

32.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”
Marcus Aurelius

33.

“Liberty consists in doing what one desires.”
John Stuart Mill

34.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
Plato

35.

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

36.

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Lao Tzu

37.

“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature.”
John Locke

38.

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
Fitzgerald F. Scott

39.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

40.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw

41.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Aristotle

42.

“A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.”
William Blake

43.

“We are too weak to discover the truth by reason alone.”
St. Augustine

44.

“Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.”
Markus Zusak

45.

“Happiness lies in virtuous activity, and perfect happiness lies in the best activity, which is contemplative.”
Aristotle

46.

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”
Socrates

47.

“Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but of how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.”
Immanuel Kant

48.

“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”
Santosh Kalwar

49.

“It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”
W. K. Clifford

50.

“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
Yann Martel

51.

“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

52.

“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”
Gilles Deleuze

53.

“One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another.”
René Descartes

54.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Confucius

55.

“Even while they teach, men learn.”
Seneca

These philosophical quotes are on fire

56.

“Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”
Iris Murdoch

57.

“Leisure is the mother of philosophy.”
Thomas Hobbes

58.

“No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
George Lucas

59.

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”
Heraclitus

60.

“The mind is furnished with ideas by experience alone.”
John Locke

61.

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”
Dalai Lama XIV

62.

“Man is condemned to be free.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

63.

“The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.”
Dan Millman

64.

“All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”
Voltaire

65.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
Marcus Aurelius

Here are even more quotes about philosophy for you

66.

“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”
Bertrand Russell

67.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Aristotle

68.

“He who thinks great thoughts, often makes great errors.”
Martin Heidegger

69.

“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

70.

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

71.

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.”
Ayn Rand

72.

“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.”
Francis Bacon

73.

“To do as one would be done by, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.”
John Stuart Mill

74.

“Whatever is reasonable is true, and whatever is true is reasonable.”
G. W. F. Hegel

75.

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

76.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Marcus Aurelius

77.

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
Plato

78.

“Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.”
Will Durant

79.

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”
Socrates

80.

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”
Ludwig van Beethoven

81.

“That man is wisest who, like Socrates, realizes that his wisdom is worthless.”
Plato

82.

“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

83.

“History is Philosophy teaching by examples.”
Thucydides

84.

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration, and respect.”
Hermann Hesse

85.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”
René Descartes

Philosophical quotes like this really make you think

86.

“Learning does not make one learned: there are those who have knowledge and those who have understanding. The first requires memory and the second philosophy.”
Alexandre Dumas

87.

“I can control my passions and emotions if I can understand their nature.”
Spinoza

88.

“Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”
Epictetus

89.

“If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.”
Baruch Spinoza

90.

“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”
Seneca

91.

“He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.”
Aristotle

92.

“Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.”
Sun Tzu

93.

“One cannot step twice in the same river.”
Heraclitus

94.

“If ignorance is bliss, there should be more happy people.”
Victor Cousin

95.

“Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me.”
G. W. F. Hegel

96.

“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awoke, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
Zhuangzi

97.

“We live in the best of all possible worlds.”
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

98.

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
Marcus Aurelius

99.

“The mind is furnished with ideas by experience alone.”
John Locke

100.

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
Lao Tzu

101.

“It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.”
Bertrand Russell

102.

“Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is.”
Richard P. Feynman

103.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Socrates

104.

“I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.”
Ayn Rand

105.

“I think therefore I am.”
René Descartes

106.

“I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage”
Fredrich Nietzsche

107.

“Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck.”
Immanuel Kant

108.

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
Henry David Thoreau

109.

“Virtue is nothing else than right reason.”
Seneca

110.

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”
Aristotle

111.

“Man is the measure of all things.”
Protagoras

112.

“Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

113.

“In everything, there is a share of everything.”
Anaxagoras

114.

“The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure….you are above everything distressing.”
Spinoza

115.

“No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.”
John Locke

116.

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.”
Leo Tolstoy

117.

“Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”
William of Ockham

118.

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion”
Simone de Beauvoir

119.

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

120.

“The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without: to follow one’s own path, not that of the crowd.”
Nicholas Tharcher

121.

“Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

122.

“It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

123.

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

124.

“Words do not express thoughts very well; everything immediately becomes a little different, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom of one man seems nonsense to another.”
Siddhartha Gautama

125.

“What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational.”
G. W. F. Hegel

I hope you enjoyed this collection of philosophical quotes.

Stay victorious!


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