Henry David Thoreau Quotations: Philosophy & Philosophers
Anciently the faith of a philosopher was identical with his system, or, in other words, his view of the universe.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Any moral philosophy is exceedingly rare.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Especially the transcendental philosophy needs the leaven of humor to render it light and digestible.—"Thomas Carlyle and His Works"
Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges. The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably.—Walden
Fishermen, hunters, woodchoppers, and others, spending their lives in the fields and woods, in a peculiar sense a part of Nature themselves, are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation.—Walden
Homer has never yet been printed in English, nor Æschylus, nor Virgil even—works as refined, as solidly done, and as beautiful almost as the morning itself; for later writers, say what we will of their genius, have rarely, if ever, equalled the elaborate beauty and finish and the lifelong and heroic literary labors of the ancients.—Walden
I am in the lecture field—but my subjects are not scientific—[rather Transcendentalist & aesthetic. I devote myself to the absorption of nature generally.—Thoreau to Charles C. Morse, 12 July 1860
I am still a learner, not a teacher, feeding somewhat omnivorously, browsing both stalk and leaves—but I shall perhaps be enabled to speak with the more precision and authority by and by—if philosophy and sentiment are not buried under a multitude of details.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 21 May 1856
I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before—a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy.—"Walking"
In comparison with the philosophers of the East, we may say that modern Europe has yet given birth to none. Beside the vast and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat-Geeta, even our Shakespeare seems sometimes youthfully green and practical merely.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers