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53 Insightful Quotes By David Hume, Philosopher Extraordinaire

Famous As: Best Known for His Highly Influential System of Philosophical Empiricism, Scepticism and Naturalism
Born On: April 26, 1711
Died On: August 25, 1776
Born In: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died At Age: 65
David Hume was a Scottish essayist, historian, philosopher and historian who lived in the 18th century and is famous for having been the pioneer of many path breaking ideas in philosophy including scepticism and empiricism. He had also introduced the concept of naturalism in philosophy. Hume studied at the University of Edinburgh but eventually quit since he did not feel that his professors had anything new to teach him and devoted his time to the study of philosophy. One of his early works, ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’, which sought to learn more about the human nature, made him popular as one of the leading philosophers of the time. Some of his other notable works include ‘Essays, Moral, Political and Literary’, ‘An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding’, ‘Four Dissertations’, ‘The Natural History of Religion’, ‘My Own Life’ and  ‘An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals’ among others. Some of his most well known and path breaking ideas include ‘Science of Man’, ‘Bundle Theory’,’ Association of Ideas’, ‘Problem of Causation’, ‘Is-Ought Problem’ and ‘Induction’. It is not a surprise then that Hume is often regarded as being one of the most influential figures in the development of what came to be known as 'Western Thought'. His essays, books and writings have a large readership. The below collection of David Hume's most famous quotes have been excerpted from his writings, papers and thoughts. We bring to you a collection of sayings and quotes by David Hume on rationality, superstition, pride, doubt, facts, proportion, assurance, beauty, beholder, evidence, selfishness, sentiment, politics and infinity.
Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.

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
Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.

David Hume
No man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping.

No man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping.

David Hume
Reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness.

Reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness.

David Hume
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.

Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.

David Hume
He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper, but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to his circumstance.

He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper, but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to his circumstance.

David Hume
The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.

The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.

David Hume
The truth springs from arguments amongst friends.

The truth springs from arguments amongst friends.

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.

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.

Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.

David Hume
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

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
...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.

...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
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.

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
Liberty of any kind is never lost all at once.

Liberty of any kind is never lost all at once.

David Hume
Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them

Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them

David Hume
To be a philosophical Sceptic is the first and most essential step towards being a sound, believing Christian.

To be a philosophical Sceptic is the first and most essential step towards being a sound, believing Christian.

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.

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
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.

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
The identity that we ascribe to things is only a fictitious one, established by the mind, not a peculiar nature belonging to what we’re talking about.

The identity that we ascribe to things is only a fictitious one, established by the mind, not a peculiar nature belonging to what we’re talking about.

David Hume
The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, and reduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian

The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, and reduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian

David Hume
The fact that different cultures have different practices no more refutes [moral] objectivism than the fact that water flows in different directions in different places refutes the law of gravity

The fact that different cultures have different practices no more refutes [moral] objectivism than the fact that water flows in different directions in different places refutes the law of gravity

David Hume
A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.

A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.

David Hume
A purpose, an intention, a design, strikes everywhere even the careless, the most stupid thinker.

A purpose, an intention, a design, strikes everywhere even the careless, the most stupid thinker.

David Hume
In public affairs men are often better pleased that the truth, though known to everybody, should be wrapped up under a decent cover than if it were exposed in open daylight to the eyes of all the world.

In public affairs men are often better pleased that the truth, though known to everybody, should be wrapped up under a decent cover than if it were exposed in open daylight to the eyes of all the world.

David Hume
To philosopher and historian the madness and imbecile wickedness of mankind ought to appear ordinary events.

To philosopher and historian the madness and imbecile wickedness of mankind ought to appear ordinary events.

David Hume
Beauty in things exists in the mind that contemplates them.

Beauty in things exists in the mind that contemplates them.

David Hume
It is possible for the same thing both to be and not to be.

It is possible for the same thing both to be and not to be.

David Hume
Carelessness and in-attention alone can afford us any remedy. For this reason I rely entirely upon them.

Carelessness and in-attention alone can afford us any remedy. For this reason I rely entirely upon them.

David Hume
Tis not unreasonable for me to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.

Tis not unreasonable for me to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.

David Hume
The bigotry of theologians [is] a malady which seems almost incurable.

The bigotry of theologians [is] a malady which seems almost incurable.

David Hume
Be a philosopher, but amid all your philosophy be still a man.

Be a philosopher, but amid all your philosophy be still a man.

David Hume
The Crusades - the most signal and most durable monument of human folly that has yet appeared in any age or nation.

The Crusades - the most signal and most durable monument of human folly that has yet appeared in any age or nation.

David Hume
Men's views of things are the result of their understanding alone. Their conduct is regulated by their understanding, their temper, and their passions.

Men's views of things are the result of their understanding alone. Their conduct is regulated by their understanding, their temper, and their passions.

David Hume
It's seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.

It's seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.

David Hume
Beauty in things exits merely in the mind which contemplates them.

Beauty in things exits merely in the mind which contemplates them.

David Hume
[T]he Old Testament, [...] if considered as a general rule of conduct, would lead to consequences destructive of all principles of humanity and morality.

[T]he Old Testament, [...] if considered as a general rule of conduct, would lead to consequences destructive of all principles of humanity and morality.

David Hume
No conclusion can be more agreable to scepticism than such as make discoveries concerning the weakness and narrow limites of human reason and capacity

No conclusion can be more agreable to scepticism than such as make discoveries concerning the weakness and narrow limites of human reason and capacity

David Hume
The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation

The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation

David Hume
The essential passions of the heart have found a better soil in which it may attain it's maturity; remain under less restraint and extended into it's natural state

The essential passions of the heart have found a better soil in which it may attain it's maturity; remain under less restraint and extended into it's natural state

David Hume
Thomas Hobbes's politics are fitted only to promote tyranny, and his ethics to encourage licentiousness.

Thomas Hobbes's politics are fitted only to promote tyranny, and his ethics to encourage licentiousness.

David Hume
[I]f subjects must never resist, it follows that every prince, without any effort, policy, or violence, is at once rendered absolute and uncontrollable;

[I]f subjects must never resist, it follows that every prince, without any effort, policy, or violence, is at once rendered absolute and uncontrollable;

David Hume
When principles are so absurd and so destructive of human society, it may safely be averred, that the more sincere and the more disinterested they are, they only become the more ridiculous and the more odious.

When principles are so absurd and so destructive of human society, it may safely be averred, that the more sincere and the more disinterested they are, they only become the more ridiculous and the more odious.

David Hume
[R]evolutions of government cannot be effected by the mere force of argument and reasoning;

[R]evolutions of government cannot be effected by the mere force of argument and reasoning;

David Hume
I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense, who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.

I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense, who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.

David Hume
[A] planet, wholly inhabited by spiders, (which is very possible)

[A] planet, wholly inhabited by spiders, (which is very possible)

David Hume
The virtues of valor and love of liberty; the only virtues which can have place among an uncivilized people, where justice and humanity are commonly neglected.

The virtues of valor and love of liberty; the only virtues which can have place among an uncivilized people, where justice and humanity are commonly neglected.

David Hume
The more instances we examine, and the more care we employ, the more assurance shall we acquire, that the enumeration, which we form from the whole, is complete and entire.

The more instances we examine, and the more care we employ, the more assurance shall we acquire, that the enumeration, which we form from the whole, is complete and entire.

David Hume
Beyond the constant conjunction of similar objects, and the consequent inference from one to the other, we have no notion of any necessity, or connexion.

Beyond the constant conjunction of similar objects, and the consequent inference from one to the other, we have no notion of any necessity, or connexion.

David Hume
It is, therefore, a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave.

It is, therefore, a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave.

David Hume
(On belief in miracles) -

(On belief in miracles) - "The gazing populace receive greedily, without examination, whatever soothes superstition and promotes wonder.

David Hume
Scepticism may be theoretically irrefutable, but even the sceptic must ‘act … and live, and converse, like other men’, since human nature gives him no choice.

Scepticism may be theoretically irrefutable, but even the sceptic must ‘act … and live, and converse, like other men’, since human nature gives him no choice.

David Hume