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Since philosophy is the art which teaches us how to live, and since children need to learn it as much as we do at other ages, why do we not instruct them in it?.. But in truth I know nothing about the philosophy of education except this: that the greatest and the most important difficulty known to human learning seems to lie in that area which treats how to bring up children and how to educate them.
A fundamental economic reconstruction, bringing with it very far-reaching changes in ways of thinking and feeling, in philosophy and art and private relations, seems absolutely necessary if industrialism is to become the servant of man instead of his master. In all this, I am at one with the Bolsheviks; politically, I criticize them only when their methods seem to involve a departure from their own ideals.
Deeds that would be punished by loss of life when committed in secret, are praised by us because uniformed generals have carried them out. Man, naturally the gentlest class of being, is not ashamed to revel in the blood of others, to wage war, and to entrust the waging of war to his sons, when even dumb beasts and wild beasts keep the peace with one another. Against this overmastering and widespread madness philosophy has become a matter of greater effort, and has taken on strength in proportion to the strength which is gained by the opposition forces.
I wish we could derive the rest of the phenomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from mechanical principles; for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they may all depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain; but I hope the principles here laid down will afford some light either to that or some truer method of philosophy.
So far there has been no philosopher in whose hands philosophy has not grown into an apology for knowledge; on this point, at least, every one is an optimist, that the greatest usefulness must be ascribed to knowledge. They are all tyrannized over by logic, and this is optimism in its essence.
The riddle of life is simply this. For some mad reason in this mad world of ours, the things which men differ about most are exactly the things about which they must be got to agree. Men can agree on the fact that the earth goes round the sun. But then it does not matter a dump whether the earth goes around the sun or the Pleiades. But men cannot agree about morals: sex, property, individual rights, fixity and contracts, patriotism, suicide, public habits of health – these are exactly the things that men tend to fight about. And these are exactly the things that must be settled somehow on strict principles. Study each of them, and you will find each of them works back certainly to a philosophy, probably to a religion.
Morality must be the heart of our existence, if it is to be what it wants to be for us. … The highest form of philosophy is ethics. Thus all philosophy begins with I am. The highest statement of cognition must be an expression of that fact which is the means and ground for all cognition, namely, the goal of the I.
A good motivation is what is needed: compassion without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their human rights and dignities. That we humans can help each other is one of our unique human capacities.
The idea of philosophy is a mysterious tradition. Philosophy is, in all, the problem of knowing. It is an undefined Science of the Sciences, a mysticism of the desire for knowledge; it is the very Spirit of the Sciences, and consequently unrepresentable, either in form or application, in the perfect representation of a special science.
In the same manner as we are cautioned by religion to show our faith by our works we may very properly apply the principle to philosophy, and judge of it by its works; accounting that to be futile which is unproductive, and still more so, if instead of grapes and olives it yield but the thistle and thorns of dispute and contention.