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David Hume quotes (showing 1-30 of 112)

“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.”
David Hume, Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays
“Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.”
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
“No man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping.”
David Hume, Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul
“Epicurus's old questions are still unanswered: Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? then whence evil?”
David Hume
“Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.”
David Hume
“In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.”
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
“Reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness.”
David Hume
“The truth springs from arguments amongst friends.”
David Hume
“He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper, but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to his circumstance.”
David Hume
“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.”
David Hume
“Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.”
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
“Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my existence, and to what condition shall I return? ... I am confounded with all these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty.

Most fortunately it happens, that since Reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, Nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation, and lively impression of my senses, which obliterate all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends. And when, after three or four hours' amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther.”
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
“The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.”
David Hume, On Suicide
“Does a man of sense run after every silly tale of hobgoblins or fairies, and canvass particularly the evidence? I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.”
David Hume, Letters of David Hume 2 vols
“It is an absurdity to believe that the Deity has human passions, and one of the lowest of human passions, a restless appetite for applause”
David Hume
“When anyone tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived or that the fact which he relates should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other and according to the superiority which I discover, I pronounce my decision. Always I reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous than the event which he relates, then and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.”
David Hume
“...no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish.”
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding/An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
“Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. 'Tis profitable for us both, that I should labour with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. I have no kindness for you, and know you have as little for me. I will not, therefore, take any pains upon your account; and should I labour with you upon my own account, in expectation of a return, I know I should be disappointed, and that I should in vain depend upon your gratitude. Here then I leave you to labour alone; You treat me in the same manner. The seasons change; and both of us lose our harvests for want of mutual confidence and security.”
David Hume
“Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”
David Hume
“For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception…. If any one, upon serious and unprejudic'd reflection thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I can reason no longer with him. All I can allow him is, that he may be in the right as well as I, and that we are essentially different in this particular. He may, perhaps, perceive something simple and continu'd, which he calls himself; tho' I am certain there is no such principle in me.”
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
“Liberty of any kind is never lost all at once.”
David Hume
“Stercus accidit.”
David Hume
“All sentiment is right; because sentiment has a reference to nothing beyond itself, and is always real, wherever a man is conscious of it. But all determinations of the understanding are not right; because they have a reference to something beyond themselves, to wit, real matter of fact; and are not always conformable to that standard.”
David Hume, Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them”
David Hume
“Any pride or haughtiness, is displeasing to us, merely because it shocks our own pride, and leads us by sympathy into comparison, which causes the disagreeable passion of humility.”
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
tags: pride
“We make allowance for a certain degree of selfishness in men; because we know it to be inseparable from human nature, and inherent in our frame and constitution. By this reflexion we correct those sentiments of blame, which so naturally arise upon any opposition.”
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
“To be a philosophical Sceptic is the first and most essential step towards being a sound, believing Christian.”
David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion/The Natural History of Religion
“Heaven and Hell suppose two distinct species of men,
the Good and the Bad.

But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.”
David Hume
“How can we satisfy ourselves without going on in infinitum? And, after all, what satisfaction is there in that infinite progression? Let us remember the story of the Indian philosopher and his elephant. It was never more applicable than to the present subject. If the material world rests upon a similar ideal world, this ideal world must rest upon some other; and so on, without end. It were better, therefore, never to look beyond the present material world.”
David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

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