The aim of this article is to describe and explain the seeming paradox that although the social situation of French philosophers is significantly better than that of Chinese philosophers, their life expectancy is lower. The lives of important Chinese and French philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries are compared and the average life expectancy in their respective nations is explored. Based on the findings of this investigation, it is speculated that the most important cause of the abovementioned paradox lies in differences in “ways of life.” Compared with French philosophers, Chinese philosophers advocate a more natural and harmonious way of life, which is argued to considerably influence their life expectancy.
The creativity and influence of an individual’s philosophical thought do not depend on the length of his life. Longevity is not the highest purpose of life, let alone its only goal. Nevertheless, it is important for individuals to experience full and meaningful lives and reach their natural life ends.