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A collection of quotations by David Hume on religion, God, philosophy, life, death, errors, joy, optimism, belief, wisdom, science, skepticism and miracles.

53 Insightful Quotes By David Hume, Philosopher Extraordinaire

Famous As: Philosopher & Historian
Born On: April 26, 1711
Died On: August 25, 1776
Born In: Edinburgh, Scotland, Great Britain
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.

David Hume

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.

David Hume

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.

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

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.

David Hume

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

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

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.

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

Liberty of any kind is never lost all at once.

David Hume

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.

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

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.

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

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

David Hume

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

David Hume

A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.

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.

David Hume

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.

David Hume

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.

David Hume

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.

David Hume

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.

David Hume

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

David Hume

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

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.

David Hume

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

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

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

David Hume

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;

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.

David Hume

[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.

David Hume

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

David Hume

The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation

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.

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.

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.

David Hume

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

David Hume

(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.

David Hume