David Hume

born David Home (7 May 1711 – 25 August 1776) Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, librarian, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism.

Governments too steady and uniform, as they are seldom free, so are they, in the judgment of some attended with another sensible inconvenience: they abate the active powers of men; depress courage, invention, and genius; and produce a universal lethary in the people.
There is no craving or demand of the human mind more constant and insatiable than that for exercise and employment, and this desire seems the foundation of most of our passions and pursuits.
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 as can be imagined.
There is no method of reasoning more common, and yet none more blamable, than, in philosophical disputes, to endeavor the refutation of any hypothesis, by a pretense of its dangerous consequences to religion and morality.
What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought'.
Hear the verbal protestations of all men: Nothing so certain as their religious tenets. Examine their lives: You will scarcely think that they repose the smallest confidence in them.
The intense view of these manifold contradictions and imperfections in human reason has so wrought upon me, and heated my brain, that I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another. Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my existence, and to what condition shall I return? Whose favour shall I court, and whose anger must I dread? What beings surround me? and on whom have, I any influence, or who have any influence on me? I am confounded with all these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, invironed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty. Most fortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation, and lively impression of my senses, which obliterate all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when after three or four hours' amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther.
Beauty in things exits merely in the mind which contemplates them.
It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity.
(On belief in miracles) - The gazing populace receive greedily, without examination, whatever soothes superstition and promotes wonder.
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, so agreeable to the natural vanity and curiosity of men; and thereby restored her ultimate secrets to that obscurity, in which they ever did and ever will remain.
It is, therefore, a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave.
It's seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.
Beauty exists merely in the mind which contemplates things; and each mind perceives a different beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others.
The Old Testament, [...] if considered as a general rule of conduct, would lead to consequences destructive of all principles of humanity and morality.
There is nothing to be learnt from a Professor, which is not to be met with in Books.
When men are most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have then giver views to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.
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. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation.
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.
Be a philosopher, but amid all your philosophy be still a man.
The bigotry of theologians [is] a malady which seems almost incurable.
Beauty in things exists in the mind that contemplates them.
Carelessness and in-attention alone can afford us any remedy. For this reason I rely entirely upon them.
All knowledge degenerates into probability.
Celibacy,fasting, penance, mortification, self-denial, humility, silence, solitude and the whole train of monkish virtues...Stupify the understanding and harden the heart, obscure the fancy and sour the temper...A gloomy hair-brained enthusiast, after his death, may have a place in the calendar, but will scarcely ever be admitted, when alive, into intimacy and society, except by those who are as delerious and dismal as himself.
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them. …'Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.
Men's views of things are the result of their understanding alone. Their conduct is regulated by their understanding, their temper, and their passions.
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. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, 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. The soldan of Egypt, or the emperor of Rome, might drive his harmless subjects, like brute beasts, against their sentiments and inclination. But he must at least have led his mamalukes, or prætorian bands, like men, by their opinion.
It is possible for the same thing both to be and not to be.
A purpose, an intention, a design, strikes everywhere even the careless, the most stupid thinker.