Denis Diderot


French Encyclopedist, Philosopher, Author and Art Critic

Author Quotes

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings.

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

I discuss with myself questions of politics, love, taste, or philosophy. I let my mind rove wantonly, give it free rein to follow any idea, wise or mad that may present itself. ... My ideas are my harlots.

Isn't it better to have men be ungrateful, than to miss a chance to do good?

My ideas are my harlots.

Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory.

The first promise exchanged by two beings of flesh was at the foot of a rock that was crumbling into dust; they took as witness for their constancy a sky that is not the same for a single instant; everything changed in them and around them, and they believed their hearts free of vicissitudes. O children! always children!

The world is the house of the strong. I shall not know until the end what I have lost or won in this place, in this vast gambling den where I have spent more than sixty years, dicebox in hand, shaking the dice.

We love, without suspecting it, everything that gives us our inclinations, seduces us and excuse our weakness.

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.

For me, my thoughts are my prostitutes.

I do not know what the rules, unless it is called the Rule, which is attributed to others, not himself. I think so, and I could not refrain from doing otherwise.

It has been said that love robs those who have it of their wit, and gives it to those who have none.

My ideas are my whores.

Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.

The first step towards philosophy is incredulity. [last words to his daughter, shortly before his death]

There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.

Always sit here like a majestic cock between two contrary balls... I always sit here like a majestic prick between two balls.

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.

I do not like to talk about the living, always a man must blush for what they say about them, good or bad: good to spoil, an evil that fix.

It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.

My thoughts are my trollops.

Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.

The following general definition of an animal: a system of different organic molecules that have combined with one another, under the impulsion of a sensation similar to an obtuse and muffled sense of touch given to them by the creator of matter as a whole, until each one of them has found the most suitable position for it shape and comfort.

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French Encyclopedist, Philosopher, Author and Art Critic