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Feisty Fragments for Philosophy

Vincent F. Hendricks

Philosophers have had a way of sometimes obstructing the otherwise admirable endeavour of philosophy: To address the fundamental issues of human existence and the workings of nature. This obstruction is emphasized by suggesting rather odd and exotic prerequisites for solving a seemingly simple problem; a particularly intractable jargon in which no words occurring have less than seven syllables and by insane thought experiments. When the impenetrable jargon is paired up with ludicrous thought experiments and the philosopher at the same time continues to insist that he or she is addressing the fundamental problems of human existence and condition, it begins to sound pretty much like the wizardry of Medieval alchemy. This is what Feisty Fragments echoes in words from Nietzsche to Einstein, from Catherine the Great to John F. Kennedy. Feisty Fragments is a collection of more than 250 commented quotations from people from all walks of life expressing their rather critical and often quite humorous takes on both philosophy and philosophers.


Many philosophers have a personal collection of quotes that cut through protocol and jargon to say something important in just a few words. Hendricks has done us all a great favour by bringing so many good ones together. Professionals will chuckle while savouring the very real insights. They will offer copies to non-philosophical friends who never could understand what philosophers do for a living. Inevitably, they will borrow some of the quotes to open or close their lectures... Enjoy them in whatever way takes your fancy, in any order you please.
David Makinson, King's College, London

Funny, provocative, informative: this is a book for all those readers who want to learn more about philosophy, and for those philosophers who want to learn more about the world. Organized as a collection of pungent aphorisms and citations, Feisty Fragments gives the pulse of this ancient discipline through the words of its practitioners, from Socrates to Charlie Brown.
Achille Varzi, Columbia University, New York

20th September 2004

ISBN: 190498701X

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