Pierre Hadot Quotes

Born February 21, 1922
Died April 24, 2010

Who on Earth is Pierre Hadot?

Pierre Hadot was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy specializing in ancient philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism.

Books by Pierre Hadot

Best Quotes by Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot
Philosophy as a Way of Life

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

Pierre Hadot
The Inner Citadel

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

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

Pierre Hadot
The Inner Citadel

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot
The Inner Citadel

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

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

Pierre Hadot
The Inner Citadel

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

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

Pierre Hadot
The Inner Citadel

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot
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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot
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.”

Pierre Hadot
Philosophy as a Way of Life

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

Pierre Hadot
The Inner Citadel

“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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot
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.”

Pierre Hadot

“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.”

Pierre Hadot