100 Philosophical Quotes from History’s Greatest Thinkers

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It's completely normal to have a whirlwind of questions when faced with a difficult situation. ‘Why did it happen?' ‘What could I have done differently?' ‘Will I ever get over it?'

However, it's important to remember that we may not always find the answers we’re looking for. And that strength may need to be found in other places, such as these philosophical quotes.

Unlike most of our gadgets, life doesn’t come with a How-To guide, or a Fix-It manual to download. But we can find solace in the wisdom and experiences of those who walked before us, such as Aristotle and Socrates.

Their words remind us that we're not alone; that we're doing OK. And sometimes, that’s all we need to be able to look towards a brighter future.

Why Do the Great Philosophers Play Such an Important Part in Today’s World?

Sharing knowledge is a beautiful way to connect with other people. Whether it's teaching our kids the secrets of the world, or passing on some valuable information to our friends, there's something truly heartwarming about sharing our knowhow.

And, it's through this exchange of information that we collectively move forward in life. From the basics of tying shoelaces to discovering the mystery spice that adds that wow factor to our slow-cooked Chilli, every piece of information shared enriches our lives.

So, it's no wonder that the wisdom of the great philosophers has left an undeniable mark on humanity, shaping our thoughts and actions in ways that we might not even realize.

From Lao Tzu's emphasis on harmony and balance to Friedrich Nietzsche's radical philosophies which challenge us to embrace our individuality, their words can help us to unearth a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

They inspire us to question, ponder, and evolve, igniting a passion for exploration and discovery.

That doesn't mean we'll always find the answers we’re searching for. But we can find comfort and acceptance. We can find light in the darkness. And we can find a way forward, no matter how impossible it may, at times, feel.

The wisdom of these, and many more great philosophers, continues to shape our world in the most extraordinary of ways. Their words echo through history, inspiring individuals and shaping societies from around the globe.

And, as we navigate the difficulties of our modern world, we can embrace and apply these timeless philosophies in our daily lives.

We can draw strength and guidance from the words in these philosophical quotes. And strive to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

100 Philosophical Quotes from History's Greatest Thinkers

  1. “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  2. “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – Socrates
  3. “Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” – Christopher Markus
  4. “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – the Dalai Lama
  5. “Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  6. “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  7. “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
  8. “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

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

  1. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” – Victor Frankl
  2. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  3. “The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.” – Baruch Spinoza
  4. “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – William James
  5. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
  6. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus
  7. “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
  8. “If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
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  1. “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius
  2. “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” – Henry David Thoreau
  3. “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
  4. “The mind is furnished with ideas by experience alone” – John Locke
  5. “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
  6. “We live in the best of all possible worlds” – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
  7. “The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.” – Lao Tzu
  8. “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

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

  1. “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius
  2. “Let come what comes, let go what goes. See what remains.” – Ramana Maharshi
  3. “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
  4. “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle
  5. “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
  6. “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” – Isaac Asimov
  7. “You always admire what you really don't understand.” – Blaise Pascal
  8. “Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
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  1. “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” – Thomas Carlyle
  2. “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
  3. “A truth that’s told with bad intent. Beats all the lies you can invent.” – William Blake
  4. “No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience” – John Locke
  5. “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.” – Markus Zusak
  6. “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think” – Socrates
  7. “Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but of how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.” – Immanuel Kant
  8. “We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” – Santosh Kalwar
  9. “Liberty consists in doing what one desires” – John Stuart Mill
  10. “Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man's lap. What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one's self.” – Max Stirner

Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man's lap. What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one's self.” – Max Stirner

  1. “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
  2. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
  3. “Without struggle, no progress and no result. Every breaking of habit produces a change in the machine.” – George Gurdjieff
  4. “No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” – George Lucas
  5. “Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly” – Francis Bacon
  6. “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius
  7. “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle
  8. “Out of difficulties grow miracles.” – Jean de la Bruyere
  9. “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
  10. “The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.” – Dan Millman
life philosophy quotes | love philosophy quotes | famous philosopher quotes
  1. “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius
  2. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle
  3. “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
  4. “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
  5. A healthy social life is found only when, in the mirror of each soul, the whole community finds its reflection, and when, in the whole community, the virtue of each one is living.” – Rudolf Steiner
  6. “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
  7. “Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward ” – Søren Kierkegaard
  8. “Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.” – Sun Tzu
  9. “The past has no power over the present moment.” – Eckhart Tolle
  10. “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

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

  1. “If ignorance is bliss, there should be more happy people.” – Victor Cousin
  2. “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Epictetus
  3. “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
  4. “I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.” – Ayn Rand
  5. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch
  6. “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.” – Baruch Spinoza
  7. “The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” – William James
  8. “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
  9. “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
  10. “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” – Aristotle
famous philosophy quotes | famous philosophers quotes | deep philosophical quotes
  1. “History is Philosophy teaching by examples” – Thucydides
  2. “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
  3.  “Happiness is the feeling that power increases — that resistance is being overcome.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  4. “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  5. “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation” – Plato
  6. “Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” – SorenKierkegaard
  7. “The only thing I know is that I know nothing” – Socrates
  8. “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong” – Bertrand Russell
  9. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
  10. “Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

  1. Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
  2. “The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it” – Epicurus
  3. “If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil” – Baruch Spinoza
  4. “Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
  5. “The secret of happiness is: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.” – Daniel Dennett
  6. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
  7. “I think therefore I am” (“Cogito, ergo sum”) – René Descartes
  8. “Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one’s desires, but by the removal of desire.” – Epictetus
  9. “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Nicolas Chamfort
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  1. “The unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates
  2. “What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational” – G. W. F. Hege
  3. “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.” – Lao Tsu
  4.  “Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” – Immanuel Kant
  5. “It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth” – John Locke
  6. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” – Marcus Aurelius
  7. “Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  8. “We are too weak to discover the truth by reason alone” – St. Augustine
  9. “I can, therefore I am.” – Simone Weil

Final Thoughts on History’s Greatest Thinkers

History is undeniably filled with brilliant minds who have shaped the world with their philosophical ideas. Their ideas on morality, ethics, and the nature of reality continue to challenge and inspire us today.

They have paved the way for future generations to question, analyze, and seek truth. And their legacy will forever be etched in history, reminding us of the power of critical thinking and the pursuit of knowledge.

For more inspirational quotes, be sure to check out these blogs:

Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.

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