Philosophical Quotes



  • A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state. 
  • A friend to all is a friend to none.
  • A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
  • A sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold. 
  • A tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end. 
  • Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy
  • Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others. 
  • Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. 
  • Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. 
  • Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government. 
  • Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them. 
  • Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. 
  • Education is the best provision for old age. 
  • Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. 
  • Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim. 
  • Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. 
  • Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean, relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. 
  • Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil. 
  • For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all. 
  • For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy. 
  • For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first. 
  • Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. 
  • Friendship is essentially a partnership. 
  • Good habits formed at youth make all the difference. 
  • Happiness depends upon ourselves. 
  • He who can be, and therefore is, another's, and he who participates in reason enough to apprehend, but not to have, is a slave by nature. 

  • "For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with the arms of intelligence and with moral qualities which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, and the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society." 
  • "We must not listen to those who advise us 'being men to think human thoughts, and being mortal to think mortal thoughts' but must put on immortality as much as possible and strain every nerve to live according to that best part of us, which, being small in bulk, yet much more in its power and honour surpasses all else."
  • "The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy. An indication of this is found in the fact that no one is able to attain the truth adequately, while, on the other hand, no one fails entirely, but everyone says something true about the nature of all things, and while individually they contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed."
  • "Since the branch of philosophy on which we are at present engaged differs from the others in not being a subject of merely intellectual interest — I mean we are not concerned to know what goodness essentially is, but how we are to become good men, for this alone gives the study its practical value — we must apply our minds to the solution of the problems of conduct. " 
  • "The poet's function is to describe, not the thing that has happened, but a kind of thing that might happen, i.e., what is possible as being probable or necessary...Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars." 
  • "Friends are an aid to the young, to guard them from error; to the elderly, to attend to their wants and to supplement their failing power of action; to those in the prime of life, to assist them to noble deeds. " 
  • "History describes what has happened, poetry what might. Hence poetry is something more philosophic and serious than history; for poetry speaks of what is universal, history of what is particular." 
  • "A courageous person is one who faces fearful things as he ought and as reason directs for the sake of what is noble." 
  • "The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life--knowing that under certain conditions it is not worth while to live. He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination... He does not take part in public displays... He is open in his dislikes and preferences; he talks and acts frankly, because of his contempt for men and things... He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes. He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend; complaisance is the characteristic of a slave... He never feels malice, and always forgets and passes over injuries... He is not fond of talking... It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed. He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, unless it be to themselves. His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important. A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care... He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skillful general who marshals his limited forces with the strategy of war... He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude." 
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