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English philosopher and philanthropist
(1632 - 1704)
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We are taught to clothe our minds, as we do our bodies, after the fashion in vogue; and it is accounted fantastical or something worse, not to do so.
      - [Fashion]

Whatsoever the mind perceives of itself, or is the immediate object of perception, thought, or understanding, that I call an idea.
      - [Ideas]

When ideas float in our mind without any reflection or regard of the understanding, it is that which the French call revery, our language has scarce a name for it.
      - [Reverie]

Wit consists in assembling, and putting together with quickness, ideas in which can be found resemblance and congruity, by which to make up pleasant pictures and agreeable visions in the fancy.
      - [Wit]

Without the notion and allowance of spirits, our philosophy will be lame and defective in one main part of it.
      - [Spirits]

The picture of a shadow is a positive thing.
      - Essay concerning Human Understanding
         (bk. II, ch. VIII, par. 5) [Shadows]

Knowledge being to be had only of visible and certain truth, error is not a fault of our knowledge, but a mistake of our judgment, giving assent to that which is not true.
      - Essay Concerning Human Understanding
         (bk. IV, Of Wrong Assent or Error, ch. XX)

We should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.
      - Essay on the Human Understanding (III, 10)

A man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty.
      - Human Understanding (bk. I, ch. II)

There seems to be a constant decay of all our ideas; even of those which are struck deepest, and in minds the most retentive, so that if they be not sometimes renewed by repeated exercises of the senses, or reflection on those kinds of objects which at first occasioned them, the print wears out, and at last there remains nothing to be seen.
      - Human Understanding (bk. II, ch. 10)

The best way to come to truth being to examine things as really they are, and not to conclude they are, as we fancy of ourselves, or have been taught by others to imagine.
      - Human Understanding (bk. II, ch. XII)

He that judges without informing himself to the utmost that he is capable, cannot acquit himself of judging amiss.
      - Human Understanding (bk. II, ch. XXI)

It is vain to find fault with those arts of deceiving, wherein men find pleasure to be deceived.
      - Human Understanding (bk. III, ch. X, 34)

To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.
      - Letter to Anthony Collins, Esq. [Truth]

To be rational is so glorious a thing, that two-legged creatures generally content themselves with the title.
      - Letter to Antony Collins, Esq. [Reason]

The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have, and therefore should be secured, because they seldom return again.
      - Letter to Samuel Bold [Thought]

Affectation is an awkward and forced Imitation of what should be genuine and easy, wanting the Beauty that accompanies what is natural.
      - On Education (sec. 66, Affectation)

The improvement of the understanding is for two ends: first, for our own increase of knowledge; secondly; to enable us to deliver and make out that knowledge to others.
      - Some Thoughts Concerning Reading and Study--Appendix B

A sound Mind is a sound Body, is a short but full description of a happy State in this World.
      - Thoughts Concerning Education [Happiness]

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