Quotations by Denis Diderot

59 Found
Displaying 1 through 50


Born: Thursday, October 5, 1713
Died: Saturday, July 31, 1784 (70 years old)
Profession: Editor
Nationality: French


All abstract sciences are nothing but the study of relations between signs.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Nothing, Study)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Faith, Being, Hurt, Living, Man, May, Self)

Bad company is as instructive as licentiousness. One makes up for the loss of one's innocence with the loss of one's prejudices.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Company, Innocence, Loss)

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
(Keywords: Religion, Society, Trouble)

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
(Keywords: Dignity, Discretion, Forget, Man)

Evil always turns up in this world through some genius or other.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Genius, Evil, World)

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Fanaticism)

Gaiety is a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Men, Quality, Genius, Disorder, Machine)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Men, Age, Genius, Events, Present)

Good music is very close to primitive language.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Music, Language)

Gratitude is a burden, and every burden is made to be shaken off.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Gratitude, Burden)

His hands would plait the priest's guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Kings)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Respect, Wickedness)

If you want me to believe in God, you must make me touch him.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: God, Want)

In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Order, Will)

It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Nature, Human nature)

It is said that desire is a product of the will, but the converse is in fact true: will is a product of desire.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Desire, Fact, Will)

It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: God, Mistake)

Justice is the first virtue of those who command, and stops the complaints of those who obey.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Virtue, Complaints, First, Justice)

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Man, Will)

Morals are in all countries the result of legislation and government; they are not African or Asian or European: they are good or bad.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Government, African, Countries, Legislation, Morals, Result)

My ideas are my whores.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Ideas)

No man has received from nature the right to command his fellow human beings.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Nature, Man, Right)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Man, Suffering)

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
(Keywords: Certainty)

Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Soul)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Nature, Observation, Reason, Reflection)

Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Patriotism, Society, Motive)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Death, People, Virtue, Feet, Hate, Praise, World)

Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Truth, Force, Memory)

Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Poetry)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Power, Force, Violence)

Sentences are like sharp nails, which force truth upon our memories.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Truth, Force, Memories)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to philosophy.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: First, Philosophy, Road, Skepticism)

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

The best mannered people make the most absurd lovers.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: People, Lovers)

The blood of Jesus Christ can cover a multitude of sins, it seems to me.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Blood, Christ)

The decisions of law courts should never be printed: in the long run, they form a counter authority to the law.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Authority, Decisions, Law)

The first step towards philosophy is incredulity.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: First, Incredulity, Philosophy)

The general interest of the masses might take the place of the insight of genius if it were allowed freedom of action.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Genius, Action, Freedom, Interest)

The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: God, Father, Apples, Children)

The infant runs toward it with its eyes closed, the adult is stationary, the old man approaches it with his back turned.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Eyes, Man, Old)

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

The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Men, Tears, Theatre)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Marriage, Possibility, Divorce, Help, Morals, Population)

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
(Keywords: Change, Force)

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.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Nature, Knowledge, Facts, Observation, Reflection, Result)

There is no good father who would want to resemble our Heavenly Father.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Father, Want)

There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies.
- Denis Diderot
(Keywords: Man, May, Woman)

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



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