Quotations From DAVID HUME


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  • The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. The Natural History of Religion, sect. 10, p. 339, Green and Grose (1898).
  • Men are much oftener thrown on their knees by the melancholy than by the agreeable passions.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. The Natural History of Religion, sect. 3, p. 318, Green and Grose (1898).
  • Scholastic learning and polemical divinity retarded the growth of all true knowledge.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. The History of England, from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688, vol. 5, p. 155, Indianapolis (1983). On the Jacobean age.
  • Philosophy would render us entirely Pyrrhonian, were not nature too strong for it.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. repr. with an intro. by J. M. Keynes and P. Sraffa, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge (1938). An Abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature, p. 24 (1740). A review Hume wrote of his own book in 1740.

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  • 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 (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. "Of the Standard of Taste," part I, essay XXIII, p. 229, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller, revised edition, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, Inc. (1987).

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  • The advantages found in history seem to be of three kinds, as it amuses the fancy, as it improves the understanding, and as it strengthens virtue.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. "Of the Study of History," Essays Withdrawn, Essay VI, p. 565, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller, revised edition, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, Inc. (1987).

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  • Custom, then, is the great guide of human life.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher, historian. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, sct. 5, pt. 1 (1748). Summarizes Hume's belief in political obedience arising from habit, as opposed to consent through a "social contract."

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  • No advantages in this world are pure and unmixed.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences," part I, essay XIV, p. 131, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller, revised edition, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, Inc. (1987).

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  • Nothing endears so much a friend as sorrow for his death. The pleasure of his company has not so powerful an influence.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. "Of Tragedy," part I, essay XXII, p. 222, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller, revised edition, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, Inc. (1987).

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  • The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.
    David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher. "On Suicide," Essay II, p. 100, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and the Posthumous Essays, ed. R.H. Popkin, Hackett (1980). Essay suppressed during Hume's lifetime.

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