50 David Hume Quotes Unlocking the Philosophy

Delve into the philosophical mind of David Hume quotes through a curated selection of his thought-provoking words.

Philosophy seeks to understand fundamental questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, ethics, and existence.

Noted philosopher David Hume wrote on skepticism, reasoning, and the concept of human knowledge.

His ideas challenged conventional wisdom and helped shape the intellectual landscape of his time and the following generations.

Who was David Hume?

David Hume was an 18th-century Scottish philosopher known for his contributions to philosophy, particularly in empiricism, skepticism, and moral philosophy.

The ideas he shared have made a lasting impact, inspiring generations of thinkers to explore the nature of human knowledge, morality, and the foundations of belief.

Discover David Hume’s philosophical outlook with these thought-provoking quotes.

What did David Hume write about skepticism?

Skepticism was a core pillar of David Hume’s philosophical work. Read on for a selection of quotes about the importance of skepticism in the pursuit of knowledge.

1. “We must be content with probability when we lack certainty.” — David Hume

2. “When men are most sure and arrogant, they are commonly most mistaken.” — David Hume

3. “To be a philosophical skeptic is, in a man of letters, the first and most essential to being a sound, believing Christian.” — David Hume

4. “Skepticism is a natural attitude of the mind, and it is only by custom and habit that we come to trust in the regularity of the world.” — David Hume

5. “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

6. “We make inferences about the future based on our past experiences, but we can never be certain that the future will resemble the past.” — David Hume

7. “In all demonstrative sciences, the rules are certain and infallible; but when we apply them, our fallible and uncertain faculties are very apt to depart from them.” — David Hume

8. “It forms a strong presumption against all supernatural and miraculous relations that they are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations.” — David Hume

9. “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

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10. “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.” — David Hume

David Hume quotes about reasoning

What did David Hume write about reason?

Much of David Hume’s work focused on human thought and decision-making.

These quotes highlight his ideas on reasoning.

11. “Reason is incapable of any motive or action.” — David Hume

12. “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” — David Hume

13. “Reason is incapable of any assurance in this argument.” — David Hume

14. “The rules of morality are not the conclusion of our reason.” — David Hume

15. “All reasonings may be divided into two kinds, namely, demonstrative reasoning and moral reasoning.” — David Hume

16. “The rules by which we reason and infer in matters of fact and existence are not founded on reason, but on custom and habit.” — David Hume

17. “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.” — David Hume

18. “Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas or to real existence and matter of fact.” — David Hume

19. “Reason, when obvious, measures all the degrees of probability and considers not only the source from which the object is derived but also the manner in which it is presented to us.”
— David Hume

20. “All our reasonings concerning matter of fact are founded on a species of Analogy, which leads us to expect from the future a uniformity similar to that which we have found in the past.” — David Hume

What did David Hume write about empiricism?

David Hume’s work focused extensively on empiricism, the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense experience.

The following David Hume quotes are from his writings on the subject.

21. “All knowledge degenerates into probability.” — David Hume

22. “The mind has never anything to present to itself but the present.” — David Hume

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23. “The idea of the self is more like that of substance than that of accident.” — David Hume

24. “We are ignorant of the ultimate origin of force, as much as of the ultimate origin of matter.” — David Hume

25. “Nature will always maintain her rights and prevail in the end over any abstract reasoning whatsoever.” — David Hume

26. “The idea of self is more simple and unity than that of any other object; that it is the first and most natural idea which occurs to the mind.” — David Hume

27. “There are no principles, either primary or secondary, of which we can form a general idea, or which we can comprehend within any other kind of relation.” — David Hume

28. “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.” — David Hume

29. “It is impossible, therefore, that this idea of self can be derived from a mind or thinking substance, which is the only substance supposed to be capable of forming it.” — David Hume

30. “Nothing can ever be present to the mind but an image or perception, and that the senses are only the inlets through which these images are conveyed without being able to produce any immediate intercourse between the mind and the object.” — David Hume

David Hume quotes and thoughts on religion

Did David Hume believe in religion?

He is often recognized for his doubt and critical scrutiny of religious beliefs.

31. “Miracles happen in all religions.” — David Hume

32. “Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.” — David Hume

33. “The belief in God is nothing but a firmer and stronger conception.” — David Hume

34. “In every system of theology, there are contradictions and absurdities.” — David Hume

35. “Theology, being a subordinate science, never can settle anything itself.” — David Hume

36. “Christianity has become the most pernicious system that ever shone on man.” — David Hume

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

38. “The idea of a supreme intelligence, who takes care of the universe, is justly regarded as a venerable hypothesis.” — David Hume

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39. “The Christian religion has not been able to give us any just idea of the Deity, or any other theology than that of the Heathens.” — David Hume

40. “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

What are some of David Hume’s philosophical quotes?

These David Hume quotes offer deeper insights into his worldviews as a philosopher.

41. “Custom is the great guide of human life.” — David Hume

42. “Man is nothing but a bundle of sensations.” — David Hume

43. “There is no such thing as a vacuum in the mind.” — David Hume

44. “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” — David Hume

45. “The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.” — David Hume

46. “Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.” — David Hume

47. “Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” — David Hume

48. “The sweetest and most inoffensive path of life leads through the avenues of science and learning.” — David Hume

49. “As the corruption of the best things produces the worst, so the greatest good in the world may be perverted to the greatest evil.” — David Hume

50. “For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception.” — David Hume

David Hume’s lasting impact

David Hume was a philosopher who shared profound insights on his philosophical outlook.

He questioned traditional beliefs on knowledge, causation, and human understanding, highlighting the importance of custom, habit, and the limitations of human reason.

Even today, Hume’s ideas inspire people to critically analyze their beliefs and engage in thoughtful skepticism while navigating the complexities of life and knowledge.

Share these David Hume quotes with your philosophical friends, and let us know your favorite in the comments.

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