Pierre Hadot Quotes



Best 25 Quotes by Pierre Hadot

“Direct language is not adequate for communicating the experience of existing, the authentic consciousness of being, the seriousness of life as we live it, or the solitude of decision making.”

“Every person - whether Greek or Barbarian - who is in training for wisdom, leading a blameless, irreproachable life, chooses neither to commit injustice nor return it unto others, but to avoid the company of busybodies, and hold in contempt the places where they spend their time - courts, councils, marketplaces, assemblies - in short, every kind of meeting or reunion of thoughtless people. People such as these, who find their joy in virtue, celebrate a festival their whole life long.”

“He who studies a text or microbes or stars must have nothing to do with his subjectivity. That is an ideal that one must try to find by a certain practice. Let us say that objectivity is a virtue, and a very difficult one to practice.”

“If these experiences of union with the Absolute are rare, nonetheless they lend their fundamental tonality to the Plotinian way of life, for that way of life appears to us now as a waiting for the unforseeable surging-forth of these privileged moments which give their full sense to life.”

“Incommensurable; but also inseparable. No discourse worthy of being called philosophical, that is separated from the philosophical life; no philosophical life, if it is not strictly linked to philosophical discourse. It is there that the danger inherent to a philosophical life resides: the ambiguity of philosophical discourse.”

“It is misinterpretation and incomprehension which, very often, provoked an important evolution in the history of philosophy and which, notably, led to the appearance of new notions.”

“It is precisely because the Epicurean considered existence to be the result of pure chance that he greeted each moment with immense gratitude, like a kind of divine miracle.”

“One could say that what differentiates ancient from modern philosophy is the fact that, in ancient philosophy, it was not only Chrysippus or Epicurus who, just because they had developed a philosophical discourse, were considered philosophers. Rather, every person who lived according to the precepts of Chrysippus or Epicurus was every bit as much a philosopher as they.”

“One must have nothing to do with the partiality of the individual, passionate self in order to raise oneself to the universality of the rational self.”

“One of the characteristics of the university is that it is made up of professors who train professors, or professionals training professionals. Education was this no longer directed toward people who were to be educated with a view to become fully developed human beings, but to specialists, in other that they might learn how to train other specialists. This is the danger of "Scholasticism," that philosophical tendency which began to be sketched at the end of antiquity, developed in the Middle Ages, and whose presence is still recognizable in philosophy today.”

“Philosophy - reduced, as we have seen, to philosophical discourse - develops from this point on in a different atmosphere and environment from that of ancient philosophy. In modern university philosophy, philosophy is obviously no longer a way of life, or a form of life - unless it be the form of life of a professor of philosophy.”

“Scientific progress has led philosophers to turn their attention from the explanation of physical phenomena, abandoned to science, in order to direct it towards the problem of being itself.”

“There was a Socratic style of life (which the Cynics were to imitate), and the Socratic dialogue was an exercise which brought Socrates' interlocutor to put himself in question, to take care of himself, and to make his soul as beautiful and wise as possible.”

“To my eyes, only the ascesis of scientific rigor, this detachment from oneself which requires an objective and impartial judgment, can give us the right to implicate ourselves in history, to give it an existential sense.”

Philosophy as a Way of Life Quotes

“Ancient philosophy proposed to mankind an art of living. By contrast, modern philosophy appears above all as the construction of a technical jargon reserved for specialists.”

Philosophy as a Way of Life

“Only he who is capable of a genuine encounter with the other is capable of an authentic encounter with himself, and the converse is equally true... From this perspective, every spiritual exercise is a dialogue, insofar as it is an exercise of authentic presence, to oneself and to others.”

Philosophy as a Way of Life

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“You construct your happiness as you construct a house and you have to work on it. It is a daily job.”


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“Socrates had no system to teach. Throughout, his philosophy was a spiritual exercise, an invitation to a new way of life, active reflection, and living consciousness.”

Philosophy as a Way of Life

“Socrates splits himself into two, so that there are two Socrates: the Socrates who knows in advance how the discussion is going to end, and the Socrates who travels the entire dialectical path along with his interlocutor.”

Philosophy as a Way of Life

“To know oneself means, among other things, to know oneself qua non-sage: that is, not as a sophos, but as a philo-sophos, someone on the way toward wisdom.”

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The Inner Citadel Quotes

“Breathe the intellect which embraces all things as if it were the surrounding air.”

The Inner Citadel

“For us, nature‚Äôs final accomplishment is contemplation, becoming aware, and a way of living in harmony with nature.”

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“In the first place, sensation (aisthesis) is a corporeal process which we have in common with animals, and in which the impression of an exterior object is transmitted to the soul. By means of this process, an image (phantasia) of the object is produced in the soul, or more precisely in the guiding part (hegemonikon) of the soul.”

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“It is not things that trouble us, as Epictetus said, but our judgment about things.”

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“My intentions were good and that's what counts.”

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“The only thing each of us lives and loses is the present.”

The Inner Citadel

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“He who thinks great thoughts, often makes great errors.”


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