Nineteen Philosophical Quotes on Knowledge (With References)

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This page contains a collection of philosophical quotes on knowledge, arranged in roughly chronological order. These quotes are all genuine and details about the author, book, chapter number, and translation are included where applicable. Quotes that begin with a section of bold text are my personal favourites. Without further ado, here are nineteen philosophical quotes on knowledge: All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all …

The New Foundations of Knowledge – a short reading from Descartes’ ‘Meditations on First Philosophy’

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Introduction RenĂ© Descartes (1596-1650) was a mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. Published in 1641, his Meditations on First Philosophy is one of the most influential works of philosophy ever written. Descartes aims to place philosophical knowledge on absolutely secure foundations. To do this he looks for a starting point which can be known beyond all doubt. Evidence from our senses sometimes mislead us, so they cannot be used a secure foundation of knowledge. In fact, it seems like it is possible to doubt almost all our knowledge. However, Descartes believes there …

The Allegory of the Cave – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?” In this passage, from book seven of Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes an unusual cave in which prisoners have been chained since childhood. The prisoners in this allegory represent the majority of mankind who perceive only the shadows of reality and hear only the echoes of truth. They cling to their mistaken view of reality and have no desire to escape their prison. Only philosophers make the journey out …

The Parable of the Ship: The Importance of Knowledge in Political Decision-making – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“The truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern.” In this passage, from book six of Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that his ideal city can only come about if there is a union of political power with philosophy, in other words, political power must be in the hands of philosophers. Now, it is important to note that when Socrates says that philosophers should rule …