Denis Diderot


French Encyclopedist, Philosopher, Author and Art Critic

Author Quotes

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

Happiest are the people who give most happiness to others.

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.

Let us strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest.

One may demand of me that I should seek truth, but not that I should find it.

Skepticism is the first step towards truth.

The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and ... people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them on occasion.

To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster!

When shall we see poets born? After a time of disasters and great misfortunes, when harrowed nations begin to breathe again. And then, shaken by the terror of such spectacles, imaginations will paint things entirely strange to those who have not witnessed them.

Belief in god is bound up with submission to autocracy. The two rise and fall together, and men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

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

If there were a reason for preferring the Christian religion to natural religion, it would be because the former offers us, on the nature of God and man, enlightenment that the latter lacks. Now, this is not at all the case; for Christianity, instead of clarifying, gives rise to an infinite multitude of obscurities and difficulties.

Los likes to walk through the winding roads. Blame it on the first time that he lied, but over time it turns out that telling the truth.

Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things.

Superstition is more offensive to God than atheism.

The number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes.

To prove the Gospels by a miracle is to prove an absurdity by something contrary to nature.

When superstition is allowed to perform the task of old age in dulling the human temperament, we can say goodbye to all excellence in poetry, in painting, and in music.

Black-letter record of the ages.

How did they meet? By chance, like everyone else. What were they? What does it matter? Where did they come from? The nearest place. Where were they? Do you know where we're going?

If you want me to believe in God, you must make me touch him.

Man is born to think for himself.

Only one step separates fanaticism from barbarism

The arbitrary rule of a just and enlightened prince is always bad. His virtues are the most dangerous and the surest form of seduction: they lull a people imperceptibly into the habit of loving, respecting, and serving his successor, whoever that successor may be, no matter how wicked or stupid.

The philosopher forms his principles from an infinity of particular observations. Most people adopt principles without thinking of the observations that have produced them, they believe the maxims exist, so to speak, by themselves. But the philosopher takes maxims from their source; he examines their origin; he knows their proper value, and he makes use of them only in so far as they suit him.

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French Encyclopedist, Philosopher, Author and Art Critic