Last modified on 11 September 2014, at 03:42

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

'Tis the hardest thing in the world to be a good thinker without being a strong self-examiner.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (February 26 1671February 4 1713) was an English philosopher and politician.

(Not to be confused with his grandfather, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.)

QuotesEdit

  • Through certain humors or passions, and from temper merely, a man may be completely miserable, let his outward circumstances be ever so fortunate.
    • As quoted in Day's Collacon : An Encyclopaedia of Prose Quotations: (1884), p. 930; Actual quote: "That thro certain Humours or Passions, and from Temper merely, a Man may be completely miserable ; let his outward Circumstances be ever so fortunate." An inquiry concerning virtue, or merit, p. 52.

Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711)Edit

Quotations are cited from the edition by Philip Ayres (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999).
  • Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since even fiction itself must be governed by it, and can only please by its resemblance.
    • Vol. 1, p. 8; "A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm".
  • How comes it to pass then, that we appear such Cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the Test of Ridicule?
    • Vol. 1, p. 11; "A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm".
  • Gravity is of the very Essence of Imposture. It does not only make us mistake other Things, but is apt perpetually almost to mistake it-self.
    • Vol. 1, p. 11; "A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm".
  • We may have an excellent Ear in Musick, without being able to perform in any kind. We may judg well of Poetry, without being Poets, or possessing the least of a Poetick Vein: But we can have no tolerable Notion of Goodness, without being tolerably good.
    • Vol. 1, p. 26; "A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm".
  • Truth, 'tis suppos'd, may bear all Lights: and one of those principal Lights or natural Mediums, by which Things are to be view'd, in order to a thorow Recognition, is Ridicule it-self, or that Manner of Proof by which we discern whatever is liable to just Raillery in any Subject.
    • Vol. 1, p. 38; "Sensus Communis".
  • All Politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision. To restrain this, is inevitably to bring a Rust upon Mens Understandings.
    • Vol. 1, pp. 39-40; "Sensus Communis".
  • True courage…has so little to do with Anger, that there lies always the strongest Suspicion against it, where this Passion is highest. The true Courage is the cool and calm. The bravest of Men have the least of a brutal bullying Insolence; and in the very time of Danger are found the most serene, pleasant, and free. Rage, we know, can make a Coward forget himself and fight. But what is done in Fury, or Anger, can never be plac’d to the account of Courage.
    • Vol. 1, p. 66; "Sensus Communis".
  • The most natural Beauty in the World is Honesty, and Moral Truth. For all Beauty is Truth. True Features make the Beauty of a Face; and true Proportions the Beauty of Architecture; as true Measures that of Harmony and Musick.
    • Vol. 1, p. 77; "Sensus Communis".
  • 'Tis the hardest thing in the world to be a good Thinker, without being a strong Self-Examiner.
    • Vol. 1, p. 92; "Soliloquy: or Advice to an Author".
  • Never did any Soul do good, but it came readier to do the same again, with more Enjoyment. Never was Love, or Gratitude, or Bounty practis'd but with increasing Joy, which made the Practiser still more in love with the fair Act.
    • Vol. 2, p. 30; "The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody".
  • Truly ... as accidental as my Life may be, or as that random Humour is, which governs it; I know nothing, after all, so real or substantial as My-Self. Therefore if there be that Thing you call a Substance, I take for granted I am one. But for anything further relating to this Question, you know my Sceptick Principles: I determine neither way.
    • Vol. 2, p. 83; Part 3, Sect. 1 "Philocles to Palemon".
  • 'Tis not Wit merely, but a Temper which must form the Well-Bred Man. In the same manner, 'tis not a Head merely, but a Heart and Resolution which must compleat the real Philosopher.
    • Vol. 2, p. 206; "Miscellany III".
  • The Taste of Beauty, and the Relish of what is decent, just, and amiable, perfects the Character of the Gentleman, and the Philosopher. And the Study of such a Taste or Relish will, as we suppose, be ever the great Employment and Concern of him, who covets as well to be wise and good, as agreeable and polite.
    • Vol. 2, p. 207; "Miscellany III".
  • A Right Mind, and Generous Affection, [has] more Beauty and Charm, than all other Symmetrys in the World besides.
    • Vol. 2, p. 209; "Miscellany III".

External linksEdit

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