110+ David Hume Quotes On Human Nature, Morality And Religion

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Top 10 David Hume Quotes (BEST)

  1. Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.
  2. There is no such thing as freedom of choice unless there is freedom to refuse.
  3. Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.
  4. All knowledge degenerates into probability.
  5. Mohammed praises [instances of] tretchery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge, and bigotry that are utterly incompatible with civilized society.
  6. In all ages of the world, priests have been enemies of liberty.
  7. No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.
  8. He is happy whom circumstances suit his temper; but he Is more excellent who suits his temper to any circumstance.
  9. The mind is a kind of theater, where several perceptions successively make their appearence; pass, re-pass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations.
  10. Reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness.

David Hume Short Quotes

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  • All power, even the most despotic, rests ultimately on opinion.
  • Human happiness seems to consist in three ingredients: action, pleasure and indolence.
  • The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.
  • When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken.
  • What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought'.
  • It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.
  • Of all sciences there is none where first appearances are more deceitful than in politics.
  • I do not have enough faith to believe there is no god.
  • The bigotry of theologians is a malady which seems almost incurable.
  • It is harder to avoid censure than to gain applause.

David Hume Quotes On Human Nature

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No quality of human nature is more remarkable, both in itself and in its consequences, than that propensity we have to sympathize with others, and to receive by communication their inclinations and sentiments, however different from, or even contrary to our own. — David Hume

Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature. — David Hume

History is the discovering of the principles of human nature. — David Hume

Never literary attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature. It fell dead-born from the press. — David Hume

If morality had naturally no influence on human passions and actions, it were in vain to take such pains to inculcate it; and nothing would be more fruitless than that multitude of rules and precepts with which all moralists abound. — David Hume

We make allowance for a certain degree of selfishness in men; because we know it to be inseparable from human nature, and inherent in our frame and constitution. By this reflexion we correct those sentiments of blame, which so naturally arise upon any opposition. — David Hume

Among the arts of conversation no one pleases more than mutual deference or civility, which leads us to resign our own inclinations to those of our companions, and to curb and conceal that presumption and arrogance so natural to the human mind. — David Hume

I do not think a philosopher who would apply himself so earnestly to the explaining the ultimate principles of the soul, would show himself a great master in the very science of human nature, which he pretends to explain, or very knowing in what is naturally satisfactory to the mind of man. — David Hume

As every inquiry which regards religion is of the utmost importance, there are two questions in particular which challenge our attention, to wit, that concerning its foundation in reason, and that concerning it origin in human nature. — David Hume

The whole of natural theologyresolves itself into one simple, though somewhat ambiguous proposition, That the cause or causesof order in the universe probably bear some remote analogy to human intelligence. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Morality

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If God is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good, whence evil? If God wills to prevent evil but cannot, then He is not omnipotent. If He can prevent evil but does not, then he is not good. In either case he is not God. — David Hume

The fact that different cultures have different practices no more refutes [moral] objectivism than the fact that water flows in different directions in different places refutes the law of gravity — David Hume

The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of the deformity of vice and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one, and embrace the other. — David Hume

.. that a rule, which, in speculation, may seem the most advantageous to society, may yet be found, in practice, totally pernicious and destructive. — David Hume

[priests are] the pretenders to power and dominion, and to a superior sanctity of character, distinct from virtue and good morals. — David Hume

We may observe that, in displaying the praises of any humane, beneficent man, there is one circumstance which never fails to be amply insisted on, namely, the happiness and satisfaction, derived to society from his intercourse and good offices. — David Hume

These arguments on each side (and many more might be produced) are so plausible, that I am apt to suspect, they may, the one as well as the other, be solid and satisfactory, and that reason and sentiment concur in almost all moral determinations and conclusions. — David Hume

Disbelief in futurity loosens in a great measure the ties of morality, and may be for that reason pernicious to the peace of civil society. — David Hume

It is still open for me, as well as you, to regulate my behavior, by my experience of past events. — David Hume

In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Religion

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Examine the religious principles which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded that they are other than sick men's dreams. — David Hume

The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. — David Hume

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous. — David Hume

Barbarity, caprice; these qualities, however nominally disguised, we may universally observe from the ruling character of the deity in all regular religions. — David Hume

No human testimony can have such force as to prove a miracle, and make it a just foundation for any such system of religion — David Hume

The whole [of religion] is a riddle, an ænigma, an inexplicable mystery. Doubt, uncertainty, suspence of judgment appear the onlyresult of our most accurate scrutiny, concerning this subject. — David Hume

That the corruption of the best thing produces the worst, is grown into a maxim, and is commonly proved, among other instances, by the pernicious effects of superstition and enthusiasm, the corruptions of true religion. — David Hume

Convulsions in nature, disorders, prodigies, miracles, though the most opposite of the plan of a wise superintendent, impress mankind with the strongest sentiments of religion. — David Hume

The sceptics assert, though absurdly, that the origin of all religious worship was derived from the utility of inanimate objects,as the sun and moon, to the support and well-being of mankind. — David Hume

A little philosophy makes a man an Atheist: a great deal converts him to religion — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Miracles

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No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish. — David Hume

A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined. — David Hume

But it is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country. — David Hume

And whoever is moved by Faith to assent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Government

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Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. — David Hume

The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny; flattery to treachery; standing armies to arbitrary government; and the glory of God to the temporal interest of the clergy. — David Hume

The stability of modern governments above the ancient, and the accuracy of modern philosophy, have improved, and probably will still improve, by similar gradations. — David Hume

It cannot reasonably be doubted, but a little miss, dressed in a new gown for a dancing-school ball, receives as complete enjoyment as the greatest orator, who triumphs in the splendour of his eloquence, while he governs the passions and resolutions of a numerous assembly. — David Hume

Almost every one has a predominant inclination, to which his other desires and affections submit, and which governs him, though perhaps with some intervals, though the whole course of his life. — David Hume

Curiosity, or the love of knowledge, has a very limited influence, and requires youth, leisure education, genius and example to make it govern any person — David Hume

It is on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. — David Hume

Every wise, just, and mild government, by rendering the condition of its subjects easy and secure, will always abound most in people, as well as in commodities and riches. — David Hume

An established government has an infinite advantage, by that very circumstance of its being established--the bulk of mankind being governed by authority, not reason, and never attributing authority to anything that has not the recommendation of antiquity. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Life

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When we reflect on the shortness and uncertainty of life, how despicable seem all our pursuits of happiness. — David Hume

...virtue is attended by more peace of mind than vice, and meets with a more favourable reception from the world. I am sensible, that, according to the past experience of mankind, friendship is the chief joy of human life and moderation the only source of tranquillity and happiness. — David Hume

No man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping. — David Hume

Custom, then, is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone, which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past. — David Hume

It is harder to avoid censure than to gain applause; for this may be done by one great or wise action in an age. But to escape censure a man must pass his whole life without saying or doing one ill or foolish thing — David Hume

For the purposes of life and conduct, and society, a little good sense is surely better than all this genius, and a little good humour than this extreme sensibility. — David Hume

In all the events of life, we ought still to preserve our scepticism. If we believe that fire warms, or water refreshes, it is only because it costs us too much pains to think otherwise. — David Hume

Custom, then, is the great guide of human life. — David Hume

It is not reason which is the guide of life, but custom. — David Hume

While we are reasoning concerning life, life is gone. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Knowledge

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Courage, of all national qualities, is the most precarious; because it is exerted only at intervals, and by a few in every nation; whereas industry, knowledge, civility, may be of constant and universal use, and for several ages, may become habitual to the whole people. — David Hume

Habit may lead us to belief and expectation but not to the knowledge, and still less to the understanding, of lawful relations. — David Hume

What is easy and obvious is never valued; and even what is in itself difficult, if we come to knowledge of it without difficulty, and without and stretch of thought or judgment, is but little regarded. — David Hume

We need only reflect on what has been prov'd at large, that we are never sensible of any connexion betwixt causes and effects, and that 'tis only by our experience of their constant conjunction, we can arrive at any knowledge of this relation. — David Hume

It seems to me, that the only Objects of the abstract Sciences or of Demonstration is Quantity and Number, and that all Attempts to extend this more perfect Species of Knowledge beyond these Bounds are mere Sophistry and Illusion. — David Hume

All knowledge resolves itself into probability. ... In every judgment, which we can form concerning probability, as well as concerning knowledge, we ought always to correct the first judgment deriv'd from the nature of the object, by another judgment, deriv'd from the nature of the understanding. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Skeptical

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There is, indeed a more mitigated scepticism or academical philosophy, which may be both durable and useful, and which may, in part, be the result of this Pyrrhonism, or excessive scepticism, when its undistinguished doubts are corrected by common sense and reflection. — David Hume

I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another. — David Hume

The great subverter of Pyrrhonism or the excessive principles of scepticism is action, and employment, and the occupations of common life. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Reason

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Eloquence, at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection, but addresses itself entirely to the desires and affections, captivating the willing hearers, and subduing their understanding. — David Hume

Eloquence, when in its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection. — David Hume

Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions. — David Hume

No truth appears to me more evident than that beasts are endowed with thought and reason as well as men. — David Hume

Accuracy is, in every case, advantageous to beauty, and just reasoning to delicate sentiment. In vain would we exalt the one by depreciating the other. — David Hume

Friendship is a calm and sedate affection, conducted by reason and cemented by habit; springing from long acquaintance and mutual obligations, without jealousies or fears, and without those feverish fits of heat and cold, which cause such an agreeable torment in the amorous passion. — David Hume

The more tremendous the divinity is represented, the more tame and submissive do men become his ministers: And the more unaccountable the measures of acceptance required by him, the more necessary does it become to abandon our natural reason, and yield to their ghostly guidance and direction. — David Hume

No conclusions can be more agreeable to scepticism than such as make discoveries concerning the weakness and narrow limits of human reason and capacity. — David Hume

The religious hypothesis, therefore, must be considered only as a particular method of accounting for the visible phenomena of the universe: but no just reasoner will ever presume to infer from it any single fact, and alter or add to the phenomena, in any single particular. — David Hume

All inferences from experience... are effects of custom, not of reasoning. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Nature

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Enthusiasm, being the infirmity of bold and ambitious tempers, is naturally accompanied with a spirit of liberty; as superstition,on the contrary, renders men tame and abject, and fits them for slavery. — David Hume

The identity that we ascribe to things is only a fictitious one, established by the mind, not a peculiar nature belonging to what we’re talking about. — David Hume

I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilization of their complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. — David Hume

While Newton seemed to draw off the veil from some of the mysteries of nature, he showed at the same time the imperfections of the mechanical philosophy; and thereby restored her ultimate secrets to that obscurity, in which they ever did and ever will remain. — David Hume

[A person’s] utmost art and industry can never equal the meanest of nature's productions, either for beauty or value. — David Hume

But I would still reply, that the knavery and folly of men are such common phenomena, that I should rather believe the most extraordinary events to arise from their concurrence, than admit of so signal a violation of the laws of nature — David Hume

In the sphere of natural investigation, as in poetry and painting, the delineation of that which appeals most strongly to the imagination, derives its collective interest from the vivid truthfulness with which the individual features are portrayed. — David Hume

Fine writing, according to Mr. Addison, consists of sentiments which are natural without being obvious. — David Hume

Municipal laws are a supply to the wisdom of each individual; and, at the same time, by restraining the natural liberty of men, make private interest submit to the interest of the public. — David Hume

The first ideas of religion arose, not from contemplation of the works of nature, but from a concern with regard to the events of life. — David Hume

David Hume Quotes On Guide

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Custom is the great guide to human life. — David Hume

Though experience be our only guide in reasoning concerning matters of fact; it must be acknowledged, that this guide is not altogether infallible, but in some cases is apt to lead us into errors. — David Hume

God is an ever-present spirit guiding all that happens to a wise and holy end. — David Hume

David Hume Famous Quotes And Sayings

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When men are the most sure and arrogant they are commonly the most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation and suspense which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities. — David Hume

The Crusades - the most signal and most durable monument of human folly that has yet appeared in any age or nation. — David Hume

Belief is nothing but a more vivid, lively, forcible, firm, steady conception of an object, than what the imagination alone is ever able to attain. — David Hume

Of all the animals with which this globe is peopled, there is none towards whom nature seems, at first sight, to have exercised more cruelty than towards man, in the numberless wants and necessities with which she has loaded him, and in the slender means which she affords to the relieving these necessities. — David Hume

That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction, than the affirmation, that it will rise. — David Hume

If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. 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. — David Hume

Heroism, or military glory, is much admired by the generality of mankind. They consider it as the most sublime kind of merit. Menof cool reflection are not so sanguine in their praises of it. — David Hume

Weakness, fear, melancholy, together with ignorance, are the true sources of superstition. Hope, pride, presumption, a warm indignation, together with ignorance, are the true sources of enthusiasm. — David Hume

Liberty of thinking, and of expressing our thoughts, is always fatal to priestly power, and to those pious frauds on which it is commonly founded. — David Hume

Human happiness seems to consist in three ingredients; action, pleasure and indolence. And though these ingredients ought to be mixed in different proportions, according to the disposition of the person, yet no one ingredient can be entirely wanting without destroying in some measure the relish of the whole composition. composition. — David Hume

Nothing is so improving to the temper as the study of the beauties either of poetry, eloquence, music, or painting. — David Hume

Berkeley , Hume, Kant , Fichte , Hegel , James , Bergson all are united in one earnest attempt, the attempt to reinstate man with his high spiritual claims in a place of importance in the cosmic scheme. — David Hume

In a vain man, the smallest spark may kindle into the greatest flame, because the materials are always prepared for it. — David Hume

This avidity alone, of acquiring goods and possessions for ourselves and our nearest friends, is insatiable, perpetual, universal, and directly destructive of society. — David Hume

What we call a mind is nothing but a heap or collection of different perceptions, united together by certain relations and supposed, though falsely, to be endowed with a perfect simplicity and identity. — David Hume

The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds. — David Hume

Liberty is a blessing so inestimable, that, wherever there appears any probability of recovering it, a nation may willingly run many hazards, and ought not even to repine at the greatest effusion of blood or dissipation of treasure. — David Hume

Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. — David Hume

Poets themselves, tho' liars by profession, always endeavour to give an air of truth to their fictions. — David Hume

The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, and reduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian — David Hume

It is a great mortification to the vanity of man, that his utmost art and industry can never equal the meanest of nature's productions, either for beauty or value. Art is only the under-workman, and is employed to give a few strokes of embellishment to those pieces, which come from the hand of the master. — David Hume

Among well bred people a mutual deference is affected, contempt for others is disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority. — David Hume

The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny. — David Hume

No advantages in this world are pure and unmixed. — David Hume

If we confine ourselves to a general and distant reflection on the ills of human life, that can have no effect to prepare us for them. If by close and intense meditation we render them present and intimate to us, that is the true secret for poisoning all our pleasures, and rendering us perpetually miserable. — David Hume

Nothing is pure and entire of a piece. All advantages are attended with disadvantages. A universal compensation prevails in all conditions of being and existence. — David Hume

Riches are valuable at all times, and to all men, because they always purchase pleasures such as men are accustomed to and desire; nor can anything restrain or regulate the love of money but a sense of honor and virtue, which, if it be not nearly equal at all times, will naturally abound most in ages of knowledge and refinement. — David Hume

Self-denial is a monkish virtue. — David Hume

Praise never gives us much pleasure unless it concur with our own opinion, and extol us for those qualities in which we chiefly excel. — David Hume

In public affairs men are often better pleased that the truth, though known to everybody, should be wrapped up under a decent cover than if it were exposed in open daylight to the eyes of all the world. — David Hume

In this sullen apathy neither true wisdom nor true happiness can be found. — David Hume

A man posing for a painting. — David Hume

Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. 'Tis profitable for us both, that I should labour with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. — David Hume

The great charm of poetry consists in lively pictures of the sublime passions, magnanimity, courage, disdain of fortune; or thoseof the tender affections, love and friendship; which warm the heart, and diffuse over it similar sentiments and emotions. — David Hume

The simplest and most obvious cause which can there be assigned for any phenomena, is probably the true one. — David Hume

If ... the past may be no Rule for the future, all Experience becomes useless and can give rise to no Inferences or Conclusions. — David Hume

Every court of criminal justice must have the power of correcting the greatest and dangerous of all abuses of the forms of law - that of the protracted imprisonment of the accused, untried, perhaps not intended ever to be tried, it may be, not informed of the nature of the charge against him, or the name of the accuser. — David Hume

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. — David Hume

It affords a violent prejudice against almost every science, that no prudent man, however sure of his principles, dares prophesy concerning any event, or foretell the remote consequences of things. — David Hume

Avarice, the spur of industry. — David Hume

Uncommon expressions are a disfigurement rather than an embellishment of discourse. — David Hume

'Tis certain that a serious attention to the sciences and liberal arts softens and humanizes the temper, and cherishes those fine emotions in which true virtue and honor consist. It rarely, very rarely happens that a man of taste and learning is not, at least, an honest man, whatever frailties may attend him. — David Hume

Reasoning from the common course of nature, and without supposing any new interposition of the Supreme Cause, which ought always to be excluded from philosophy; what is incorruptible must also be ingenerable. The soul, therefore, if immortal, existed before our birth: And if the former existence noways concerned us, neither will the latter. — David Hume

It is with books as with women, where a certain plainness of manner and of dress is more engaging than that glare of paint and airs and apparel which may dazzle the eye, but reaches not the affections. — David Hume

Men are much oftener thrown on their knees by the melancholy than by the agreeable passions. — David Hume

Jealousy is a painful passion; yet without some share of it, the agreeable affection of love has difficulty to subsist in its full force and violence. — David Hume

To invent without scruple a new principle to every new phenomenon, instead of adapting it to the old; to overload our hypothesis with a variety of this kind, are certain proofs that none of these principles is the just one, and that we only desire, by a number of falsehoods, to cover our ignorance of the truth. — David Hume

That the sun shines tomorrow is a judgement that is as true as the contrary judgement. — David Hume

I may venture to affirm the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement. — David Hume

Luxury, or a refinement on the pleasures and conveniences of life, had long been supposed the source of every corruption in government, and the immediate cause of faction, sedition, civil wars, and the total loss of liberty. It was, therefore, universally regarded as a vice, and was an object of declamation to all satyrists, and severe moralists. — David Hume

Anticipation of pleasure is, in itself, a very considerable pleasure. — David Hume

I know with certainty, that [an honest man] is not to put his hand into the fire, and hold it there, till it be consumed: And thisevent, I think I can foretell with the same assurance, as that, if he throw himself out at the window, and meet with no obstruction, he will not remain a moment suspended in the air. — David Hume

The unhappy of all men is he who believes himself to be so. — David Hume

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? — David Hume

What praise is implied in the simple epithet useful! What reproach in the contrary. — David Hume

The great end of all human industry is the attainment of happiness — David Hume

There is nothing, in itself, valuable or despicable, desirable or hateful, beautiful or deformed; but that these attributes arise from the particular constitution and fabric of human sentiment and affection. — David Hume

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. — David Hume

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. — David Hume

Life Lessons by David Hume

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  1. David Hume taught that it is important to strive for knowledge and understanding, and to be open to new ideas and experiences.
  2. He emphasized the importance of living in the present moment and being mindful of our thoughts and actions.
  3. He also encouraged us to be humble and to recognize that we may never fully understand the world around us.

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