David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist and essayist, known primarily for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment.
After writing your Treat of human natureHume strove to create a naturalistic "science of man" that examined the psychological basis of human nature. In clear opposition to the rationalists who preceded him, especially Descartes, he concluded that desire, rather than reason, governed human behavior.
Enjoy some of his most famous quotes in this inspiring compilation.
Famous quotes by David Hume
The sweetest and harmless path of life leads through the avenues of science and knowledge.
Everyone complains about his bad memory; No one of your little understanding.
No order, no position remains unchanged for a moment.
Nothing is freer than the human imagination.
Man is the greatest enemy of man.
Be a philosopher ... but in the midst of all your philosophy, be a man.
Work and poverty, so hated by everyone, are the safe destination of the great majority.
Each solution gives rise to a new question ...
The reason is, and should only be, slave of passions.
Any quality of the spirit that is useful or pleasing to the person or others, provides the spectator with pleasure, raises his estimate and is admitted under the honorable denomination of virtue or merit.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
We can change the name of things, but their nature and action on the mind never change.
Man is a rational being and is continually looking for the happiness he hopes to achieve through the gratification of some passion or feeling. He rarely acts, speaks or thinks without a purpose or intention.
Barbarism and arbitrariness: such are the attributes, although they are hidden by other names, which constitute, as we can see everywhere, the dominant character of the Deity for popular religions.
The custom is, then, great guide of human life.
Nothing is more surprising to those who examine human affairs with a philosophical view than the ease with which the majority is governed by the minority.
The beauty of things exists in the spirit of those who contemplate them.
Although there was no chance in this world, our ignorance of the real cause of an event would have the same influence on understanding and engender a similar type of belief or opinion.
Our life is too short to probe deep chasms.
Nature will always maintain its rights and, finally, will prevail over any abstract reasoning.
In general there is a degree of doubt, caution and modesty that, in all kinds of investigations, must always accompany the right reasoner.
When you take a step beyond the world system, all you do is excite an inquisitive mood that is never possible to satisfy.
It is evident that there is a principle of connection between the different thoughts or ideas of the mind and that, when presented to memory or imagination, some introduce others with a certain degree of order and regularity.
Rigorous and precise reasoning is the only universal remedy valid for all people and dispositions.
The proper function of religion is to regulate the hearts of men, humanize their behavior, infuse the spirit of temperance, order and obedience.
I must admit that a man who concludes that an argument has no reality, because his investigation has escaped, is guilty of unforgivable arrogance.
If we judge by our limited and imperfect experience, generation has some advantages over reason; because every day we see the last come from the first, but never the first from the last.
In short, if we did not start from a fact present in memory and in the senses, our reasoning would be merely hypothetical ...
The actions of a man are not only interdependent in any limited period of his life, but throughout his duration, from the cradle to the grave.
Only from experience do we know the influence of our will.
Nature is always too strong for theory.
All ideas, especially abstract ones, are naturally weak and dark.
The primitive religion of humanity has its main source in the disturbing fear of the future.
First, it must be accepted that, when we know a power, we know that dimension of the cause by virtue of which it is capable of producing its effect.
There are causes that are absolutely uniform and constant in the production of a certain effect, and no failure or irregularity has ever been found in its operation.
We ignore, it is true, the way in which these bodies act with each other. His forces and energies are totally incomprehensible.
Weak human understanding cannot be satisfied by conceiving your God as a pure spirit and perfect intelligence.
It is universally admitted that there is great uniformity in the actions of men of all nations and ages, and that human nature remains the same in regard to its principles and operations.
Nothing exists without a cause; and to the original cause of this universe whatever we call it God and piously we attribute all kinds of perfection.
A work without purpose would be more like the delusions of a madman than the sober efforts of the genius or the wise.
From my point of view, there seems to be only three principles of connection between ideas, namely: similarity, contiguity in time or space and cause or effect.
Whatever the definition of freedom we give, we must be careful to observe two requirements: first. that does not contradict the facts; second, that is consistent with itself.
But the mind requires some relaxation, since it cannot always be inclined towards worry and work.
The corruption of the best is the worst.
Darkness is indeed painful for the mind, as it is for the eye, but drawing light from the darkness, for whatever effort, must be delightful and rejoice.
An artisan, who handles only inert matter, can fail in his purpose as much as the politician who directs the behavior of sensitive and intelligent agents.
The higher feelings of the mind, the operations of understanding, the various agitations of passions, even when they are different in themselves, easily escape us when reflection examines them.
It is sufficient, for now, to have established the following conclusion: that the three principles of connection of ideas are the relations of similarity, contiguity and cause and effect.
That students of philosophy first learn logic, then ethics, then physics and finally the nature of the gods.
I hope to make it clear, therefore, that all men have agreed on the doctrine of freedom and necessity, according to any reasonable meaning assigned to these terms.