Aphorisms, Quips, and Tweets


Epictetus, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein — they’re just some of the philosophers known for putting big ideas into small packages. They are great to read, yet the aphoristic or epigrammatic style is not very common among philosophers today. Sydney Morgenbesser comes to mind as a more recent master of the philosophical quip (e.g., “Of course pragmatism is true; the trouble is it doesn’t work.”). Fans of this genre should be aware that Jerry Dworkin has put together Philosophy: A Commonplace Book, which is a goldmine of philosophers’ aphorisms, quips, jokes, insults, and the like.

There is probably more out there, given that we live in an age of a new literary art form, the tweet, and I imagine that there are good providers of philosophically-related insight or amusement on Twitter. For example, check out this article in the LA Times on @NeinQuarterly (“At Starbucks I order under the name Godot. Then leave.”). Of course you all already follow @dailynouseditor. But who out there in Twitterdom should philosophers follow for the occasional pause to reflect–or chuckle?

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Maureen E.
Maureen E.
7 years ago

For aphoristic musings on Twitter besides Nein Quarterly, I enjoy:
Teju Cole @tejucole Example: Oh I get it, but,” said the person who didn’t get it.
Dogs Doing Things @dogsdoingthings Example: Dogs dreaming things that never were and asking why not before observing things the way they are and realizing, “Oh.”
Henri le Chat Noir @HenriLeChatNoir Ex.: If it seems like cats sleep a lot, it’s only because it takes so much energy to deal with your nonsense.Report

Justin Caouette (@JustinCaouette)
7 years ago

For a chuckle on twitter other philosophers might check out:

Faces in Things @FacesPics
ShitPhilosophersSay @ShitPhilosophrs
God @TheTweetOfGod
XKCD @xkcdrss
Shit Academics Say @AcademicsSayReport