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43 Quotes By Will Durant That You Must Read

Will Durant was born on November 5, 1885 in Massachusetts. His parents were French-Canadian who emigrated to the United States. He graduated in 1907 and became a reporter for New York Evening Journal. He was a famous American philosopher, writer and historian.

Will Durant published his first book – Philosophy and the Social Problem – while doing his PhD at Columbia University. In the book he investigated the idea that philosophy had not grown because it avoided the actual problems of society.

In 1926, he published The Story of Philosophy which would become a bestseller. In 1927 to 1931, he would publish four books, and in 1935 his wife and him started their most famous work The Story of Civilization. The latter consisted of 11 volumes which were published over four decades.

Read our Will Durant quotes about civilization, history and philosophy.

Science gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom.

Will Durant

The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.

Will Durant

The most interesting thing in the world is another human being who wonders, suffers and raises the questions that have bothered him to the last day of his life, knowing he will never get the answers.

Will Durant

The love we have in our youth is superficial compared to the love that an old man has for his old wife.

Will Durant

The family is the nucleus of civilization.

Will Durant

The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.

Will Durant

Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

Will Durant

To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. Nothing is often a good thing to say, and always a clever thing to say.

Will Durant

Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.

Will Durant

The ego is willing but the machine cannot go on. It’s the last thing a man will admit, that his mind ages.

Will Durant

There have been only 268 of the past 3,421 years free of war.

Will Durant

There is nothing in socialism that a little age or a little money will not cure.

Will Durant

To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.

Will Durant

Truth always originates in a minority of one, and every custom begins as a broken precedent.

Will Durant

We Americans are the best informed people on earth as to the events of the last twenty-four hours; we are the not the best informed as the events of the last sixty centuries.

Will Durant

We are living in the excesses of freedom. Just take a look at 42nd Street an Broadway.

Will Durant

Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn.

Will Durant

When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near.

Will Durant

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

Will Durant

Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory.

Will Durant

Every vice was once a virtue, and may become respectable again, just as hatred becomes respectable in wartime.

Will Durant

Nature has never read the Declaration of Independence. It continues to make us unequal.

Will Durant

As soon as liberty is complete it dies in anarchy.

Will Durant

Bankers know that history is inflationary and that money is the last thing a wise man will hoard.

Will Durant

A statesman cannot afford to be a moralist.

Will Durant

Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with chaos.

Will Durant

Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.

Will Durant

Civilization is the order and freedom is promoting cultural activity.

Will Durant

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

Will Durant

Education is the transmission of civilization.

Will Durant

Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art.

Will Durant

History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice.

Will Durant

I am not against hasty marriages, where a mutual flame is fanned by an adequate income.

Will Durant

If man 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

In my youth I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order.

Will Durant

Inquiry is fatal to certainty.

Will Durant

It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.

Will Durant

Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul.

Will Durant

Man became free when he recognized that he was subject to law.

Will Durant

Moral codes adjust themselves to environmental conditions.

Will Durant

Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.

Will Durant

Every form of government tends to perish by excess of its basic principle.

Will Durant

Voltaire thought that history is the record of the crimes and absurdities of mankind. I thought that was a very unworthy definition. I should say history is the record of the activities of mankind and it has two sides — one is the crimes and absurdities and the other is the contributions to civilization, the lasting developments which enabled each generation to proceed with a larger heritage than the one before. And that to me is the meaning of history.

Will Durant

36 Clifford Geertz Quotes On Anthropology

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116 Most Amazing Quotes About Literature

It is one of the paradoxes of American literature that our writers are forever looking back with love and nostalgia at lives they couldn’t wait to leave.

Anatole Broyard