6 Great Sayings From Western Philosophy

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The great sayings of Western Philosophy capture some of the most daring and helpful thoughts humans have ever exchanged. Here is a list of our favourites, which reflect the adventure and wisdom of philosophical history.
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“‘What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.’ The Roman philosopher Seneca used to comfort his friends – and himself – with this darkly humourous remark which gets to the heart of Stoicism, the school of philosophy which Seneca helped to found and which dominated the West for two hundred years. We get weepy and furious, says Stoicism, not simply because our plans have failed, but because they have failed and we strongly expected them not to. Therefore, thought Seneca, the task of philosophy is to disappoint us gently before life has a chance to do so violently. The less we expect, the less we will suffer. Through the help of a consoling pessimism, we should strive to turn our rage and our tears into that far less volatile compound: sadness. Seneca was not trying to depress us, just to spare us the kind of hope that, when it fails, inspires bitterness and intemperate shouting.…”

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