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Denis Diderot (1713 – 1784)


French philosopher and chief editor of the historic project to produce L'Encyclopédie.
Denis Diderot
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.
Diderot quotes
Happiest are the people who give most happiness to others.
Diderot
I discuss with myself questions of politics, love, taste, or philosophy. I let my mind rove wantonly, give it free rein to follow any idea, wise or mad that may present itself. ... My ideas are my harlots.




Diderot Denis quotes
There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.
Diderot Denis
Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things.
Denis Diderot quotes
Watch out for the fellow who talks about putting things in order! Putting things in order always means getting other people under your control.
Denis Diderot
Reason is to the philosopher what grace is to the Christian.
Grace causes the Christian to act, reason the philosopher. Other men are carried away by their passions, their actions not being preceded by reflection: these are the men who walk in darkness. On the other hand, the philosopher, even in his passions, acts only after reflection; he walks in the dark, but by a torch.
The philosopher forms his principles from an infinity of particular observations. Most people adopt principles without thinking of the observations that have produced them, they believe the maxims exist, so to speak, by themselves. But the philosopher takes maxims from their source; he examines their origin; he knows their proper value, and he makes use of them only in so far as they suit him.
Truth is not for the philosopher a mistress who corrupts his imagination and whom he believes to be found everywhere; he contents himself with being able to unravel it where he can perceive it. He does not confound it with probability; he takes for true what is true, for false what is false, for doubtful what is doubtful, and probable what is only probable. He does more, and here you have a great perfection of the philosopher: when he has no reason by which to judge, he knows how to live in suspension of judgment...
The philosophical spirit is, then, a spirit of observation and exactness, which relates everything to true principles...
Diderot Denis quotes
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.
Diderot
La puissance qui s'acquiert par la violence n'est qu'une usurpation, et ne dure qu'autant que la force de celui qui commande l'emporte sur celle de ceux qui obéissent.
Diderot Denis
If exclusive privileges were not granted, and if the financial system would not tend to concentrate wealth, there would be few great fortunes and no quick wealth. When the means of growing rich is divided between a greater number of citizens, wealth will also be more evenly distributed; extreme poverty and extreme wealth would be also rare.
Denis Diderot
Gratitude is a burden, and every burden is made to be shaken off.




Denis Diderot quotes
The best doctor is the one you run for and can't find.
Denis Diderot
Good music is very close to primitive language.
Diderot quotes
Are we not madder than those first inhabitants of the plain of Sennar? We know that the distance separating the earth from the sky is infinite, and yet we do not stop building our tower.
Diderot Denis
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.
Diderot Denis quotes
I believe in God, although I live very happily with atheists... It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God.
Denis Diderot
Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to.
Denis Diderot quotes
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.
Denis Diderot
There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.
Diderot Denis
Gaiety — a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine.


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