Not Exactly For The Quote-A-Day Calendar


You know those quote-a-day calendars? The ones that have inspirational or ponder-provoking messages like:

you-are-doomed

Oh wait, not like that. Rather, like this:

griffith-joyner-quote

Sometimes philosophers end up on these things, or in similar collections of quotes, because they’ve supposedly said something that’s interpreted as inspirational or moving. For example:

aristotle-quality-act-habit

I’m pretty sure that Aristotle didn’t say exactly that, and I’m more than pretty sure he didn’t say it about sofas, but you get the gist, and if you’d like you can get the above as a large wall decal.

Sometimes the quotes are accurate, though for some of them it is puzzling why they’re included alongside Disneyisms like “If you can dream it, you can do it.” The latest example of this is from Yale University Press. Behold the following from their Facebook feed:

quine-inspirational-quote-not-really

Ponder that, people. Can you feel the ontology move you?

This, of course, requires a response, and the best one I can think of is for us to find other quotes from philosophers that can be snuck into collections of inspirational or wonder-inducing quotes, despite not meaning anything inspirational at all. The best ones will have the largest gap between their inspirational impression and relatively dispassionate meaning.

(via Matt McAdam)

Related: “Motivational” Posters from Philosophers.

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