Denis Diderot - Quotes

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There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.

There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.

Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.

Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs.

Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs.

You have to make it happen.

You have to make it happen.

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.

Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.

Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.

There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.

There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.

If there is one realm in which it is essential to be sublime, it is in wickedness. You spit on a petty thief, but you can't deny a kind of respect for the great criminal. ---->>>

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step. ---->>>

There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint. ---->>>

No man has received from nature the right to command his fellow human beings. ---->>>

It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it. ---->>>

Our observation of nature must be diligent, our reflection profound, and our experiments exact. We rarely see these three means combined; and for this reason, creative geniuses are not common. ---->>>

Bad company is as instructive as licentiousness. One makes up for the loss of one's innocence with the loss of one's prejudices. ---->>>

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers. ---->>>

The best doctor is the one you run to and can't find.

The best doctor is the one you run to and can't find.

It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all. ---->>>

Skepticism is the first step on the road to philosophy. ---->>>

The best mannered people make the most absurd lovers. ---->>>

There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies. ---->>>

Although a man may wear fine clothing, if he lives peacefully; and is good, self-possessed, has faith and is pure; and if he does not hurt any living being, he is a holy man. ---->>>

To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster! ---->>>

Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to. ---->>>

When science, art, literature, and philosophy are simply the manifestation of personality they are on a level where glorious and dazzling achievements are possible, which can make a man's name live for thousands of years.

When science, art, literature, and philosophy are simply the manifestation of personality they are on a level where glorious and dazzling achievements are possible, which can make a man's name live for thousands of years.

All abstract sciences are nothing but the study of relations between signs. ---->>>

There is no good father who would want to resemble our Heavenly Father. ---->>>

The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children. ---->>>

We are far more liable to catch the vices than the virtues of our associates. ---->>>

Justice is the first virtue of those who command, and stops the complaints of those who obey. ---->>>

Gratitude is a burden, and every burden is made to be shaken off. ---->>>

His hands would plait the priest's guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings. ---->>>

Morals are in all countries the result of legislation and government; they are not African or Asian or European: they are good or bad. ---->>>

The decisions of law courts should never be printed: in the long run, they form a counter authority to the law. ---->>>

There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it. ---->>>

Evil always turns up in this world through some genius or other. ---->>>

Gaiety is a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine. ---->>>

Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory. ---->>>

The first step towards philosophy is incredulity. ---->>>

In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go. ---->>>

It is said that desire is a product of the will, but the converse is in fact true: will is a product of desire. ---->>>

When superstition is allowed to perform the task of old age in dulling the human temperament, we can say goodbye to all excellence in poetry, in painting, and in music.

When superstition is allowed to perform the task of old age in dulling the human temperament, we can say goodbye to all excellence in poetry, in painting, and in music.

We are all instruments endowed with feeling and memory. Our senses are so many strings that are struck by surrounding objects and that also frequently strike themselves. ---->>>

The possibility of divorce renders both marriage partners stricter in their observance of the duties they owe to each other. Divorces help to improve morals and to increase the population. ---->>>

The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled. ---->>>

Watch out for the fellow who talks about putting things in order! Putting things in order always means getting other people under your control. ---->>>

Good music is very close to primitive language. ---->>>

Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it. ---->>>

Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild. ---->>>

The infant runs toward it with its eyes closed, the adult is stationary, the old man approaches it with his back turned. ---->>>

People praise virtue, but they hate it, they run away from it. It freezes you to death, and in this world you've got to keep your feet warm. ---->>>

The blood of Jesus Christ can cover a multitude of sins, it seems to me. ---->>>

The general interest of the masses might take the place of the insight of genius if it were allowed freedom of action. ---->>>

If you want me to believe in God, you must make me touch him. ---->>>

Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things. ---->>>

Genius is present in every age, but the men carrying it within them remain benumbed unless extraordinary events occur to heat up and melt the mass so that it flows forth. ---->>>

One declaims endlessly against the passions; one imputes all of man's suffering to them. One forgets that they are also the source of all his pleasures. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: French
Born: October 5, 1713
Birthplace: Langres, Champagne, France
Die: July 31, 1784
Occupation: Editor
Website:

Denis Diderot (French: [dəni did(ə)ʁo]; 5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert (wikipedia)