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DAVID HUME
Scottish philosopher and historian
(1711 - 1776)
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The ages of greatest public spirit are not always eminent for private virtue.
      - [Virtue]

The great end of all human industry is the attainment of happiness.
      - [Industry]

The greater part of mankind may be divided into two classes; that of shallow thinkers who fall short of the truth; and that of abstruse thinkers who go beyond it.
      - [Thinkers]

The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds.
      - [Untrained]

The rules of morality are not the conclusion of our reason.
      - [Morality]

"The sublime," says Longinus, "is often nothing but the echo or image of magnanimity"; and where this quality appears in any one, even though a syllable be not uttered, it excites our applause and admiration.
      - [Sublimity]

The sweetest and most inoffensive path of life leads through the avenues of science and learning; and whoever can either remove any obstruction in this way, or open up any new prospect, ought, so far, to be esteemed a benefactor to mankind.
      - [Science]

There is a set of harmless liars, frequently to be met with in company, who deal much in the marvellous. Their usual intention is to please and entertain; but as men are most delighted with what they conceive to be the truth, these people mistake the means of pleasing, and incur universal blame.
      - [Falsehood]

Though men of delicate taste be rare, they are easily to be distinguished in society by the soundness of their understanding, and the superiority of their faculties above the rest of mankind.
      - [Culture]

To be happy, the passions must be cheerful and gay, not gloomy and melancholy. A propensity to hope and joy is real riches; one to fear and sorrow, real poverty.
      - [Cheerfulness]

Truth springs from argument amongst friends.
      - [Truth]

Uncommon expressions are a disfigurement rather than an embellishment of discourse.
      - [Style]

Vanity is so closely allied to virtue, and to love the fame of laudable actions approaches so near the love of laudable actions for their own sake, that these passions are more capable of mixture than any other kinds of affection; and it is almost impossible to have the latter without some degree of the former.
      - [Vanity]

What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought'.
      - [Thought]

When men are most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have then given views to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.
      - [Arrogance]

When men are the most sure and arrogant, they commonly are the most mistaken.
      - [Dogmatism]

When we reflect on the shortness and uncertainty of life, how despicable seem all our pursuits of happiness.
      - [Happiness]

Where ambition can be so happy as to cover its enterprises even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of all human passions.
      - [Ambition]

Where ambition can cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of passions.
      - [Ambition]

Where is the reward of virtue? and what recompense has nature provided for such important sacrifices as those of life and fortune, which we must often make to it? O sons of earth! Are ye ignorant of the value of this celestial mistress? And do ye meanly inquire for her portion, when ye observe her genuine beauty?
      - [Virtue]

While we are reasoning concerning life, life is gone.
      - [Life]

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysic, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
      - Concerning Human Understanding"
         (last paragraph) [Books : Libraries]

If suicide be supposed a crime, it is only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence when it becomes a burden. It is the only way that we can then be useful to society, by setting an example which, if imitated, would preserve every one his chance for happiness in life, and would effectually free him from all danger or misery.
      - Essay on Suicide [Suicide]

Let us consider what we call vicious luxury. No gratification, however sensual, can of itself be esteemed vicious. A gratification is only vicious when it engrosses all a man's expense, and leaves no ability for such acts of duty and generosity as are required by his situation and fortune. The same care and toil that raise a dish of peas at Christmas would give bread to a whole family during six months.
      - Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary
         (pt. II, Essay II) [Luxury]


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