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Will Durant

Date de naissance: 5. novembre 1885
Date de décès: 7. novembre 1981
Autres noms:ویل دورانت

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William James Durant , dit Will Durant, est un philosophe, un historien et un écrivain américain. Il est notamment l'auteur de nombreux articles de magazines ainsi que d'une Histoire de la philosophie , et d'une Histoire de la civilisation , en 32 volumes, qu'il mit cinquante ans à écrire avec l’aide de sa femme Ariel.

Citations Will Durant

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„How much more suffering is caused by the thought of death than by death itself.“

— Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers

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„Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.“

— Will Durant
Context: Sixty years ago I knew everything. Now I know nothing. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. Quoted in "Books: The Great Gadfly", Time magazine, 8 October 1965 (review of The Age of Voltaire by Will and Ariel Durant)

„Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.“

— Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers

„We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.“

— Will Durant
Context: Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy'. p. 87. The quoted phrases within the quotation are from the Nicomachean Ethics, Book II, 4; Book I, 7.

„All the relations of men and women are being changed by this one factor“

— Will Durant
Context: The invention and spread of contraceptives is the proximate cause of our changing morals. The old moral code restricted sexual experience to marriage, because copulation could not be effectively separated from parentage, and parentage could be made responsible only through marriage. But to-day the dissociation of sex from reproduction has created a situation unforeseen by our fathers. All the relations of men and women are being changed by this one factor; and the moral code of the future will have to take account of these new facilities which invention has placed at the service of ancient desires. Our Changing Morals, in The Mansions of Philosophy: A Survey of Human Life and Destiny, (1929), Simon and Schuster, New York, ch. 5. p. 119.

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„I know how unfashionable it is now to acknowledge in life or history any genius loftier than ourselves.“

— Will Durant
Context: I know how unfashionable it is now to acknowledge in life or history any genius loftier than ourselves. Our democratic dogma has leveled not only all voters but all leaders; we delight to show that living geniuses are only mediocrities, and that dead ones are myths. … Since it is contrary to good manners to exalt ourselves, we achieve the same result by slyly indicating how inferior are the great men of the earth. In some of us, perhaps, it is a noble and merciless asceticism, which would root out of our hearts the last vestige of worship and adoration, lest the old gods should return and terrify us again. For my part, I cling to this final religion, and discover in it a content and stimulus more lasting than came from the devotional ecstasies of youth. The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time.

„I feel for all faiths the warm sympathy of one who has come to learn that even the trust in reason is a precarious faith, and that we are all fragments of darkness groping for the sun.“

— Will Durant
Context: I feel for all faiths the warm sympathy of one who has come to learn that even the trust in reason is a precarious faith, and that we are all fragments of darkness groping for the sun. I know no more about the ultimates than the simplest urchin in the streets. Preface

„The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history.“

— Will Durant
Context: The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage page 459.

„If the average man had had his way there would probably never have been any state. Even today he resents it, classes death with taxes, and yearns for that government which governs least. If he asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.“

— Will Durant
Context: If the average man had had his way there would probably never have been any state. Even today he resents it, classes death with taxes, and yearns for that government which governs least. If he asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous. In the simplest societies there is hardly any government. Primitive hunters tend to accept regulation only when they join the hunting pack and prepare for action. The Bushmen usually live in solitary families; the Pygmies of Africa and the simplest natives of Australia admit only temporarily of political organization, and then scatter away to their family groups; the Tasmanians had no chiefs, no laws, no regular government; the Veddahs of Ceylon formed small circles according to family relationship, but had no government; the Kubus of Sumatra "live without men in authority" every family governing itself; the Fuegians are seldom more than twelve together; the Tungus associate sparingly in groups of ten tents or so; the Australian "horde" is seldom larger than sixty souls. In such cases association and cooperation are for special purposes, like hunting; they do not rise to any permanent political order. Ch. III : The Political Elements of Civilization, p. 21

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