David Hume Quotes

Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
Everything in the world is purchased by labor.
David Hume (Of Commerce, 1752)
Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.
Variant: Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplate them.
David Hume
(Of the Standard of Taste, 1757)
To hate, to love, to think, to feel, to see; all this is nothing but to perceive.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
For with what confidence can I venture upon such bold enterprises, when beside those numberless infirmities peculiar to myself, I find so many which are common to human nature? Can I be sure, that in leaving all established opinions I am following truth; and by what criterion shall I distinguish her, even if fortune shou'd at last guide me on her foot-steps?
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
Custom, then, is the great guide of human life.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
How is the deity disfigured in our representations of him! What caprice, absurdity, and immorality are attributed to him! How much is he degraded even below the character, which we should naturally, in common life, ascribe to a man of sense and virtue!
David Hume (The Natural History of Religion, 1757)
Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
Nothing indeed can be a stronger presumption of falsehood than the approbation of the multitude.
David Hume (Letter to Adam Smith)
There is a very remarkable inclination in human nature to bestow on external objects the same emotions which it observes in itself, and to find every where those ideas which are most present to it.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
But the life of a man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.
David Hume (On Suicide, 1783)
Victory is not gained by the men at arms, who manage the pike and the sword; but by the trumpeters, drummers, and musicians of the army.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.
David Hume (The Natural History of Religion, 1757)
Eloquence, when at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection; but addressing itself entirely to the fancy or the affections, captivates the willing hearers, and subdues their understanding.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
There is nothing which is not the subject of debate, and in which men of learning are not of contrary opinions.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
A man acquainted with history may, in some respect, be said to have lived from the beginning of the world, and to have been making continual additions to his stock of knowledge in every century.
David Hume (Of the Study of History, 1741)
In all ages of the world, priests have been enemies to liberty; and it is certain, that this steady conduct of theirs must have been founded on fixed reasons of interest and ambition.
David Hume (Of the Parties of Great Britain)
Belief is nothing but a more vivid, lively, forcible, firm, steady conception of an object, than what the imagination alone is ever able to attain.
David Hume
Morals excite passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason of itself is utterly impotent in this particular. The rules of morality, therefore, are not conclusions of our reason.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
We speak not strictly and philosophically when we talk of the combat of passion and of reason. 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, 1739-1740)
Upon the whole, necessity is something, that exists in the mind, not in objects; nor is it possible for us ever to form the most distant idea of it, consider'd as a quality in bodies. Either we have no idea of necessity, or necessity is nothing but that determination of thought to pass from cause to effects and effects to causes, according to their experienc'd union.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
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 (Of the Study of History, 1741)
That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction, than the affirmation, that it will rise.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
To be happy, the passion must be chearful and gay, not gloomy and melancholy. A propensity to hope and joy is real riches: One to fear and sorrow, real poverty.
David Hume (The Sceptic, 1742)
Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.
David Hume (Of the First Principles of Government)
He is happy, whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent, who can suit his temper to any circumstances.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, 1751)
Scholastic learning and polemical divinity retarded the growth of all true knowledge.
David Hume (The History of England, 1754-1762)
Human Nature is the only science of man; and yet has been hitherto the most neglected.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
Nature has pointed out a mixed kind of life as most suitable to the human race, and secretly admonished them to allow none of these biases to draw too much, so as to incapacitate them for other occupations and entertainments.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
Men often act knowingly against their interest.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
What we call a mind is nothing but a heap or collection of different perceptions, united together by certain relations and supposed, though falsely, to be endowed with a perfect simplicity and identity.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)
When suicide is out of fashion we conclude that none but madmen destroy themselves; and all the efforts of courage appear chimerical to dastardly minds... Nevertheless, how many instances are there, well attested, of men, in every other respect perfectly discreet, who, without remorse, rage, or despair, have quitted life for no other reason than because it was a burden to them, and have died with more composure than they lived?
David Hume (Essays On Suicide And The Immortality Of The Soul, 1755)
The whole is a riddle, an aenigma, an inexplicable mystery. Doubt, uncertainty, suspence of judgment appear the only result of our most accurate scrutiny, concerning this subject. But such is the frailty of human reason, and such the irresistible contagion of opinion, that even this deliberate doubt could scarcely be upheld; did we not enlarge our view, and opposing one species of superstition to another, set them a quarrelling; while we ourselves, during their fury and contention, happily make our escape, into the calm, though obscure, regions of philosophy.
David Hume (The Natural History of Religion, 1757)
A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more than probable, that all men must die; that lead cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be, that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or in other words, a miracle to prevent them? Nothing is esteemed a miracle, if it ever happen in the common course of nature... There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but by an opposite proof, which is superior.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
The chief benefit, which results from philosophy, arises in an indirect manner, and proceeds more from its secret, insensible influence, than from its immediate application.
David Hume (The Sceptic, 1741)
Art may make a suit of clothes; but nature must produce a man.
David Hume
It is seldom, that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.
David Hume (Of the Liberty of the Press)
If the past may be no rule for the future, all experience becomes useless and can give rise to no inference or conclusion.
David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
Survey most nations and most ages. Examine the religious principles, which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded, that they are any thing but sick men's dreams: Or perhaps will regard them more as the playsome whimsies of monkies in human shape, than the serious, positive, dogmatical asseverations of a being, who dignifies himself with the name of rational.
David Hume (The Natural History of Religion, 1757)
Nothing is more usual and more natural for those, who pretend to discover anything new to the world in philosophy and the sciences, than to insinuate the praises of their own systems, by decrying all those, which have been advanced before them.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740)

David Hume Biography

Born: May 7, 1711
Died: August 25, 1776

David Hume was a famous Scottish philosopher, historian and writer. He is most commonly known for his philosophical theories. He is also regarded as one of the most important figures of Western Philosophy.

Notable Works

A Treatise of Human Nature (1739 - 1740)
Essays Moral and Political (1741 - 1742)
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)
An Enquiry Concerning The Principles of Morals (1751)
Four Disserations
The Natural History of Religion (1748)
The History of England
(1754 - 1762)

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