Great Thinkers: Plato

Plato statue at the Academy of Athens building in Athens, Greece

 

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

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
-Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality)

PLATO and Aristotle were the most influential of all philosophers, ancient, medieval, or modern; and of the two, it was Plato who had the greater effect upon subsequent ages. I say this for two reasons: first, that Aristotle himself is an outcome of Plato; second, that Christian theology and philosophy, at any rate until the thirteenth century, was much more Platonic than Aristotelian. It is necessary, therefore, in a history of philosophic thought, to treat Plato, and to a lesser degree Aristotle, more fully than any of their predecessors or successors.
-Bertrand Russell (The History of Western Philosophy)

 

TOC

  1. Facts
  2. Some Famous Publications
  3. Selected Thoughts & Ideas
    1. From The School of Life
    2. Wikipedia
    3. Bertrand Russell
    4. Will Durant
    5. The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas)
  4. Quotes
  5. Videos / Audio
  6. Sources

Continue reading “Great Thinkers: Plato”

Jan 22: Francis Bacon was born in 1561

Francis_Bacon

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
― Francis Bacon

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
― Francis Bacon, The Advancement Of Learning

Wikipedia:

Born 22 January 1561
Strand, London, England
Died 9 April 1626 (aged 65)
Highgate, Middlesex, England
Nationality English
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Era English Renaissance, The Scientific Revolution
Region Western philosophy
School Renaissance PhilosophyEmpiricism
Main interests
Natural philosophy
Philosophical logic
Signature
Francis Bacon Signature.svg

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only uponinductive and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. While his own practical ideas about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have a long lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a skeptical methodology makes Bacon the father of scientific method. This marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology today.

Bacon was generally neglected at court by Queen Elizabeth, but after the ascension of King James I in 1603, Bacon was knighted. He was later created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Alban in 1621. Because he had no heirs, both titles became extinct upon his death in 1626, at 65 years of age. Bacon died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted the condition while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.

Will Durant—The Philosophy of Francis Bacon (audio – 1h 43m):

Quotes

“Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”
― Francis Bacon

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”
― Francis Bacon, The Essays

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”
― Francis Bacon

“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
― Francis Bacon, The Essays

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”
― Francis Bacon

“Reading maketh a full man; and writing an axact man. And, therefore, if a man write little, he need have a present wit; and if he read little, he need have much cunning to seem to know which he doth not.”
― Francis Bacon

“Wonder is the seed of knowledge”
― Francis Bacon

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”
― Francis Bacon

“It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself.”
― Francis Bacon

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake…”
― Francis Bacon

“Money is a great servant but a bad master.”
― Francis Bacon

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
― Francis Bacon

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”
― Francis Bacon

“Age appears best in four things: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read.”
― Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon's statue at Gray's Inn, South Square, London
Francis Bacon’s statue at Gray’s Inn, South Square, London

October 15: Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844

Friedrich Nietzsche

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Wikipedia:

Born Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
15 October 1844
Röcken (near Lützen), Province of Saxony, Kingdom of Prussia
Died 25 August 1900 (aged 55)
Weimar, Saxony, German Empire
Residence Germany
Nationality German
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Main interests
Aesthetics · Ethics
Metaphysics · Nihilism
Psychology · Ontology
Poetry · Value theory
Voluntarism · Tragedy
Fact–value distinction
Anti-foundationalism
Philosophy of history
Notable ideas
Apollonian and Dionysian
Übermensch  · Ressentiment
“Will to power”  · “The Death of God”
Eternal recurrence  · Amor fati
Herd instinct  · Tschandala
“Last Man”  · Perspectivism
Master–slave morality
Transvaluation of values
Nietzschean affirmation
Signature
Friedrich Nietzsche Signature.svg

Continue reading “October 15: Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844”

September 27: Albert Ellis was born in 1913

albert ellis

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
― Albert Ellis

Wikipedia:

Born September 27, 1913
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died July 24, 2007 (aged 93)
New York, New York, USA
Residence United States of America
Nationality American
Fields Clinical psychology, philosophy and psychotherapy
Known for Formulating and developing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy,
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Albert Ellis (September 27, 1913 – July 24, 2007) was an American psychologist who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). He held M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University and American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He also founded and was the President of the New York City-based Albert Ellis Institute for decades. He is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, he was considered as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third).

Notable awards

  • 2003 award from the Association for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (UK)
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 1996 Outstanding Clinician Award
  • American Psychological Association 1985 award for Distinguished professional contributions to Applied Research
  • American Humanist Association 1971 award for “Humanist of the Year”
  • New York slate Psychological Association 2006 Lifetime Distinguished Service Award
  • American Counseling Association1988 ACA Professional Development Award
  • Honesty and Confidablity Test National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists’ Outstanding Contributions to CBT Award
  • Awarded the American Psychological Achievement For Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology

Videos

Albert Ellis: A Guide to Rational Living – Thinking Allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey Mishlove

21 Ways to Stop Worrying by Dr Albert Ellis, 1991 (audio)

Quotes

“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well . And the world must be easy.”
― Albert Ellis

“Even injustice has it’s good points. It gives me the challenge of being as happy as I can in an unfair world.”
― Albert Ellis

“The art of love… is largely the art of persistence. ”
― Albert Ellis

“Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human.”
― Albert Ellis

“The emotionally mature individual should completely accept the fact that we live in a world of probability and chance, where there are not, nor probably ever will be, any absolute certainties, and should realize that it is not at all horrible, indeed—such a probabilistic, uncertain world.”
― Albert Ellis

“Life is indeed difficult, partly because of the real difficulties we must overcome in order to survive, and partly because of our own innate desire to always do better, to overcome new challenges, to self-actualize. Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor.”
― Albert Ellis, The Art & Science of Rational Eating

“If the Martians ever find out how human beings think, they’ll kill themselves laughing.”
― Albert Ellis

“Spirit and soul is horseshit of the worst sort. Obviously there are no fairies, no Santa Clauses, no spirits. What there is, is human goals and purposes as noted by sane existentialists. But a lot of transcendentalists are utter screwballs.”
― Albert Ellis

“If human emotions largely result from thinking, then one may appreciably control one’s feelings by controlling one’s thoughts – or by changing the internalized sentences, or self-talk, with which one largely created the feeling in the first place.”
― Albert Ellis, Rational Psychotherapy and Individual Psychology

You largely constructed your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.
Albert Ellis

We teach people that they upset themselves. We can’t change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.
Albert Ellis

By not caring too much about what people think, I’m able to think for myself and propagate ideas which are very often unpopular. And I succeed.
Albert Ellis

I think the future of psychotherapy and psychology is in the school system. We need to teach every child how to rarely seriously disturb himself or herself and how to overcome disturbance when it occurs.
Albert Ellis

For that again, is what all manner of religion essentially is: childish dependency.
Albert Ellis

albert ellis 2

September 13: Michel de Montaigne died in 1592

Montaigne

“The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. ”
― Michel de Montaigne

Wikipedia:

Born Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
28 February 1533
Château de Montaigne, Guyenne, France
Died 13 September 1592 (aged 59)
Château de Montaigne, Guyenne, France
Religion Roman Catholic
Era Renaissance philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Renaissance humanism
Renaissance skepticism
Notable ideas
The essay,
Montaigne’s wheel argument
Signature
Unterschrift des Michel de Montaigne.png

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with serious intellectual insight; his massive volume Essais (translated literally as “Attempts” or “Trials”) contains some of the most influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers all over the world, including Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, and possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare.

In his own lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, ‘I am myself the matter of my book’, was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne would come to be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt which began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, “Que sçay-je?” (“What do I know?”, in Middle French; directly rendered Que sais-je? in modern French). Remarkably modern even to readers today, Montaigne’s attempt to examine the world through the lens of the only thing he can depend on implicitly—his own judgment—makes him more accessible to modern readers than any other author of the Renaissance. Much of modern literary non-fiction has found inspiration in Montaigne and writers of all kinds continue to read him for his masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and personal storytelling.

PHILOSOPHY – Montaigne

Montaigne on Self-Esteem – Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness:

Quotes

“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“I quote others only in order the better to express myself.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.”
― Michel de Montaigne, Les Essais

“He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“Learned we may be with another man’s learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding. We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.”
― Michel de Montaigne

Obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.”
― Michel de Montaigne, Montaigne: Essays

“My art and profession is to live.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more as I grow older.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death… We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere.”

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
― Michel de Montaigne

Montaigne 2