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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
There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.




Diderot Denis quotes
Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things.
Diderot Denis
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 quotes
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...
Denis Diderot
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 Denis quotes
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
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.
Diderot Denis
Gratitude is a burden, and every burden is made to be shaken off.
Denis Diderot
The best doctor is the one you run for and can't find.




Denis Diderot quotes
Good music is very close to primitive language.
Denis Diderot
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 quotes
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
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.
Diderot Denis quotes
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
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 quotes
There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.
Denis Diderot
Gaiety — a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine.
Diderot Denis
Do you see this egg? With this you can topple every theological theory, every church or temple in the world. What is it, this egg, before the seed is introduced into it? An insentient mass. And after the seed has been introduced to into it? What is it then? An insentient mass. For what is the seed itself other than a crude and inanimate fluid? How is this mass to make a transition to a different structure, to sentience, to life? Through heat. And what will produce that heat in it? Motion.


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