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Denis Diderot Quotes


A French philosopher and chief editor of the historic project to produce L'Encyclopédie.
(1713 - 1784)

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All abstract sciences are nothing but the study of relations between signs.
[Science]
 

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.
 

Bad company is as instructive as licentiousness. One makes up for the loss of one's innocence with the loss of one's prejudices.
 

Black-letter record of the ages.
 

Distance is a great promoter of admiration!
[Admiration]
 

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.
 

Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to.
 

Evil always turns up in this world through some genius or other.
 

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.
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Gaiety is a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the 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.
 

Good music is very close to primitive language.
 

Gratitude is a burden, and every burden is made to be shaken off.
 

Happiest are the people who give most happiness to others.
[Happiness]
 

His hands would plait the priest's guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings.
 

How old the world is! I walk between two eternities... What is my fleeting existence in comparison with that decaying rock, that valley digging its channel ever deeper, that forest that is tottering and those great masses above my head about to fall? I see the marble of tombs crumbling into dust; and yet I don't want to die!
[Death]
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I like better for one to say some foolish thing upon important matters than to be silent. That becomes the subject of discussion and dispute, and the truth is discovered.
[Silence]
 

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.
 

If you want me to believe in God, you must make me touch him.
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Ignorance is less remote from truth than prejudice.
[Truth]
 


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