intellectual history

intellectual history


Will Durant Quotes About the Meaning of Life

quotes about the meaning of life August 18th, 2020

Will Durant was one of America’s greatest intellectuals. He lived from 1885 to 1981. In his long, varied, and distinguished career, he taught, wrote, earned a doctorate in philosophy, and came to know many of the most important and elusive truths. His interest in history was as salient than his love of philosophy, for he is best known for his book the massive, 11-volume set The Story of Civilization, his take on significant historical happenings and patterns (which he published with his lifelong interlocutor, his wife Ariel). They won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the work. Only slightly less remarkable was The Story of Philosophy, which detailed the lives and works of a dozen of the most impactful philosophers throughout history, such as Plato and Nietzsche. Durant was truly a remarkable man; we are so lucky he lived to the ripe old age he did, and that he was a philosopher, historian, teacher and writer – and not a banker or a tennis player or a gambler. This blog is about Will Durant’s quotes about the meaning of life from his superb book on the subject.

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Passionate Proponent of Progress: Marquis de Condorcet

progress March 21st, 2018

Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, known as the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), was a  French philosopher of the Enlightenment. He was also an amazingly progressive and early proponent of women’s rights and educational reform. Condorcet did much of the heavy lifting in bringing the ideas of progress, or the indefinite perfectibility of humankind, to the fore. History has much benefitted from his courage, grace, and intelligence. He also has a very interesting denouement – to use a French word! – and I will share that shortly.

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Ten of History’s Greatest Thinkers

greatest thinkers March 19th, 2018

Perhaps you know of the eminent historian, writer, and psychologist/philosopher/anthropologist all rolled into one, Will Durant. He died in the late twentieth century, but was truly a man of letters and a wonderful writer. I found a neat little book, compiled after his death by John Little. It is a compilation of his writings that involved rankings of merit. The first real chapter in the book is “The Ten Greatest Thinkers,” though the two men put greatest in quotation marks, as I suppose they should, since great is really a subjective term. My intention in this blog is to share which ten men (yes, they are all men) he thinks shine the brightest among history’s renowned philosophers and scientists, and include a quote of each.

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Aristotle Quotes: World’s Greatest Philosopher?

Aristotle quotes March 10th, 2017

Aristotle has discovered and formulated every canon of theoretical consistency, and every artifice of dialectical debate, with an industry and acuteness which cannot be too highly extolled; and his labors in this direction have perhaps contributed more than any other single writer to the intellectual stimulation of after ages ~ Alfred William Benn. The rigorous Macedonian thought leader was a remarkable man. Not perfect, but he was simply called “The Philosopher” by Aquinas and others for centuries for a reason. A pioneer in the area where philosophy meets science, he achieved much in politics, ethics, natural science, and the like. Few come close to his curiosity, intellectual power, or high-minded intent.

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