Marcus Aurelius on Opinions #170
A History of Philosophy in Quotes
Dear friends of Daily Philosophy,
last year I asked for your votes on what we should be talking about this year. Many of you voted for a short history of philosophy through its famous quotes. And this, right here, is the first instalment of this new series. But don’t worry; I will still mix this series up with other posts to keep things interesting.
Over this year, we will be going over some of the best-known quotes from famous thinkers. As opposed to popular “philosophy quotes” collections that you can find all over the Internet, here I will give you not only the precise location of the quote (so that you can look it up yourself), but also an explanation in a few hundred words. Short enough to read quickly, but with sufficient context and interpretation, so that you can really understand what the quote originally was about and where it fits into the history of thought.
In our premium newsletter, which you can find on Substack, we have been discussing the past and the future of mankind in very broad terms.
Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about whether there could have existed another technological civilisation on Earth in the millions of years before us. If this sounds interesting, please upgrade your subscription for the price of a coffee a month! This not only allows you to support Daily Philosophy, but it also gives you access to exclusive content, a printable version of these articles, free ebooks, and much more.
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To ease us into the new format, let me begin with a quote that will already sound somewhat familiar to you. Later on, we will look into many different philosophers and times, from Heraclitus to Hegel and from Confucius to Carnap; so keep reading!
Marcus Aurelius: Meditations
It is in our power to have no opinion about a thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul; for things themselves have no natural power to form our judgements. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 6)
Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar (121-180 AD) is still one of the most well-known and generally well-regarded emperors of Rome. Read more about him here:
Marcus Aurelius was not only an emperor, but also a philosopher. In a difficult time for Rome and for himself, he turned to philosophy to find strength and guidance. While away from Rome, on military expeditions to the barbarian lands in Central Europe, he kept a diary of his thoughts. This later became known as “Meditations.” But the original title is much more modest: “Notes to Myself,” or “Things that Concern Myself.”