„How does the philosophical question differ from the non-philosophical question? To philosophize means, we said, to direct one's view toward the totality of the world. So is that a philosophical question (and that alone) which has for its explicit and formal theme the sum-total of all existing things? No! What is peculiar and distinctive about a philosophical question is that it cannot be posed, considered, or answered (so far at least as an answer is possible) without "God and the world" also coming into consideration, that is, the whole of what exists.“
„Now this structure of hope (among other things) is also what distinguishes philosophy from the special sciences. There is a relationship with the object that is different in principle in the two cases. The question of the special sciences is in principle ultimately answerable, or, at least, it is not un-answerable. It can be said, in a final way (or some day, one will be able to say in a final way) what is the cause, say, of this particular infectious disease. It is in principle possible that one day someone will say, "It is now scientifically proven that such and such is the case, and no otherwise." But […] a philosophical question can never be finally, conclusively answered. […] The object of philosophy is given to the philosopher on the basis of a hope. This is where Dilthey's words make sense: "The demands on the philosophizing person cannot be satisfied. A physicist is an agreeable entity, useful for himself and others; a philosopher, like the saint, only exists as an ideal." It is in the nature of the special sciences to emerge from a state of wonder to the extent that they reach "results." But the philosopher does not emerge from wonder.
Here is at once the limit and the measure of science, as well as the great value, and great doubtfulness, of philosophy. Certainly, in itself it is a "greater" thing to dwell "under the stars." But man is not made to live "out there" permanently! Certainly, it is a more valuable question, as such, to ask about the whole world and the ultimate nature of things. But the answer is not as easily forthcoming as for the special sciences!“
— Josef Pieper German philosopher 1904 - 1997
pp. 109–111 The Dilthey quote is from Briefwechsel zwischen Wilhelm Dilthey und dem Grafen Paul Yorck v. Wartenberg, 1877–1897 (Hall/Salle, 1923), p. 39.
„Now it is not our purpose here to condemn this world, from the standpoint of some "holiday-world" of philosophy. No words need be wasted on saying that this work-a-day world is very much with us, that in it the foundations of our physical existence are secured, without which no one can philosophize at all! Nevertheless, let us also recall, that among the voices which fill the workplace and the markets ("How do you get this or that item of daily existence?" "Where do you get that?" etc.) — in the midst of all these voices suddenly one calls above the rest: "Why is there anything at all, and not nothing?" — asking that age-old question, which Heidegger called the basic question of all metaphysics! Must we explicitly state how unfathomable this philosopher's question is, in comparison with that everyday world of needs and purposefulness? If such a question as this were asked, without introduction or interpretation, in the company of those people of efficiency and success, wouldn't the questioner be considered rather … mad?“
— Josef Pieper German philosopher 1904 - 1997
„There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.“
— Albert Camus French author and journalist 1913 - 1960
Context: There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect. If I ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, I reply that one judges by the actions it entails. I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument. The Myth of Sisyphus and other essays by Albert Camus, An Absurd Reasoning : Absurdity and Suicide p. 3 (1942, 1955) Absurdity and Suicide
„When the physicist poses the question, "What does it mean to do physics?" or "What is research in physics?" — his question is a preliminary question. Clearly, when you ask a question like that, and try to answer it, you are not "doing physics." Or rather you are no longer doing physics. But when you ask yourself, "What does it mean to do philosophy?" then you actually are "doing philosophy" — this is not at all a "preliminary" question but a truly philosophical one: you are right at the heart of the business.“
— Josef Pieper German philosopher 1904 - 1997
„All those agonizing philosophical-theological conundrums amount to "Ask a silly question, get a silly answer."“
— Poul Anderson American science fiction and fantasy writer 1926 - 2001
„Daly: In a sense, would you say that the age of biogenetics/cyberspace is the age of philosophy?
Žižek: Yes, and the age of philosophy in the sense again that we are confronted more and more often with philosophical problems at an everyday level. It is not that you withdraw from daily life into a world of philosophical contemplation. On the contrary, you cannot find your way around daily life itself without answering certain philosophical questions. It is a unique time when everyone is, in a way, forced to be some kind of philosopher.“
— Slavoj Žižek Slovene philosopher 1949
Conversations with Žižek by Slavoj Žižek and Glyn Daly (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004), p. 54
— Isaiah Berlin Russo-British Jewish social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas 1909 - 1997
As quoted in The Listener (1978)
„Camus said there is only really one serious philosophical question, which is whether or not to commit suicide. I think there are four or five serious philosophical questions:
The first one is: Who started it?
The second is: Are we going to make it?
The third is: Where are we going to put it?
The fourth is: Who's going to clean up?
And the fifth: Is it serious?“
— Alan Watts British philosopher, writer and speaker 1915 - 1973
Out Of Your Mind (2004), Audio lecture 1: The Nature of Consciousness: A Game That's Worth The Candle
— Edwin H. Land American scientist and inventor 1909 - 1991
Context: Ordinarily when we talk about the human as the advanced product of evolution and the mind as being the most advanced product of evolution, there is an implication that we are advanced out of and away from the structure of the exterior world in which we have evolved, as if a separate product had been packaged, wrapped up, and delivered from a production line. The view I am presenting proposes a mechanism more and more interlocked with the totality of the exterior. This mechanism has no separate existence at all, being in a thousand ways united with and continuously interacting with the whole exterior domain. In fact there is no exterior red object with a tremendous mind linked to it by only a ray of light. The red object is a composite product of matter and mechanism evolved in permanent association with a most elaborate interlock. There is no tremor in what we call the "outside world" that is not locked by a thousand chains and gossamers to inner structures that vibrate and move with it and are a part of it. The reason for the painfulness of all philosophy is that in the past, in its necessary ignorance of the unbelievable domains of partnership that have evolved in the relationship between ourselves and the world around us, it dealt with what indeed have been a tragic separation and isolation. Of what meaning is the world without mind? The question cannot exist. Address to the Society of Photographic Scientists and Engineers, Los Angeles, California (5 May 1977), published Harvard Magazine (January-February 1978), pp. 23–26 <!-- , and in Zygon Vol. 16, No. 1, (1981) p. 7 - 13 -->
„I am SO tired of this trope. It may indeed be the case that we can’t justify a priori via philosophical lucubrations that we arrive at the truth about nature only by using the methods of science. My answer to that is increasingly becoming, “So bloody what?” The use of science is justified because it works, not because we can justify it philosophically. If we are interested in finding out what causes malaria, no amount of appeal to a deity, philosophical rumination, listening to music, reading novels, or waiting for a revelation will answer that question. We have to use scientific methods, which, of course, is how causes of disease are found.“
— Jerry Coyne American biologist 1949
" A belated reply from Francis Spufford, who defends his faith http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/a-belated-reply-from-francis-spufford-who-defends-his-faith/" October 2, 2012