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Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

French philosopher and man of letters

The possibility of divorce renders both marriage partners stricter in their observance of the duties they owe to each other. Divorces help to improve morals and to increase the population.

DENIS DIDEROT, Observations on the Drawing Up of Laws

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.

DENIS DIDEROT, Discours sur la poésie dramatique

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.

DENIS DIDEROT, Elements of Physiology

It is said that desire is a product of the will, but the converse is in fact true: will is a product of desire.

DENIS DIDEROT, Elements of Physiology

Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever oulasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.

DENIS DIDEROT, "Observations on the Drawing Up of Laws"

Skepticism is the first step towards truth.

DENIS DIDEROT, Pensées philosophiques

Vermilion lips, well shaped, a smiling mouth, beautiful white teeth, an elastic step and plump cheeks, charm at eighteen.

DENIS DIDEROT, attributed, Day's Collacon

I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out.

DENIS DIDEROT, attributed, The Concise Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go.

DENIS DIDEROT, On the Interpretation of Nature

Distance is a great promoter of admiration.

DENIS DIDEROT, attributed, Forty Thousand Quotations, Prose and Poetical


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