Quotations about   morality

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Preface (1891)
Added on 3-Jan-19 | Last updated 3-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Wilde, Oscar

An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth; or it is an error: it can never be a crime or a virtue.

Frances "Fanny" Wright (1795-1852) Scottish-American writer, lecturer, social reformer
A Few Days in Athens, Vol. 2, ch. 14 (1822)
Added on 1-Jan-19 | Last updated 1-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wright, Fanny

‘Tis a hard task not to surrender morality for riches.

[Ardua res haec est opibus non tradere mores.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 11, epigram 5 [tr. in Harbottle (1897)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • It is an arduous task to preserve morality from the corruption of riches. [tr. Bohn (1871)]
  • 'Tis rare, when riches cannot taint the mind. [tr. Anon. (1695)]
  • 'Tis a hard task this, not to sacrifice manners to wealth. [tr. Ker (1919)]
  • It is a hard business, not to compromise morals for riches. [tr. Nisbet (2015)]
Added on 14-Nov-18 | Last updated 14-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch (1989)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Oct-18 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brown, Rita Mae

That which we call sin in others, is experiment for us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Experience,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Sep-18 | Last updated 4-Sep-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Nature, as we know her, is no saint.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Essays: Second Series, “Experience” (1844)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Aug-18 | Last updated 17-Aug-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:18–20 (KJV)

    Alt. trans.:
  • "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do." (GNT)
  • "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits." (NRSV)
Added on 17-Aug-18 | Last updated 17-Aug-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bible

The time is always right to do what’s right.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Future of Integration” Finney Chapel, Oberlin College (22 Oct 1964)

King gave several speeches over the years with this title.
Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

Morals are three-quarters manners.

Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965) US Supreme Court Justice, jurist and teacher
Felix Frankfurter Reminiscences (1960) [ed. Harlan Phillips]
Added on 15-Feb-18 | Last updated 15-Feb-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Frankfurter, Felix

We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
All Things Considered, “Limericks and Counsels of Perfection” (1908)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Oct-17 | Last updated 12-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Chesterton, Gilbert Keith

A man’s action is only a picture-book of his creed.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Letters and Social Aims, “Poetry and Imagination” (1876)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Sep-17 | Last updated 11-Sep-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Tolerance is not a moral absolute; it is a peace treaty.

Yonatan Zunger (contemp.) Essayist, software engineer and architect, physicist
“Tolerance is not a moral precept” (2 Jun 2017)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Aug-17 | Last updated 22-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Zunger, Yonatan

For action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics. We continually forget that the sphere of morals is the sphere of action, that speculation in regard to morality is but observation and must remain in the sphere of intellectual comment, that a situation does not really become moral until we are confronted with the question of what shall be done in a concrete case, and are obliged to act upon our theory.

Jane Addams (1860-1935) American reformer, suffragist, philosopher, author
Democracy and Social Ethics, ch. 7 “Political Reform” (1902)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Aug-17 | Last updated 7-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Addams, Jane

In self-examination, take no account of yourself by your thoughts and resolutions in the days of religion and solemnity; examine how it is with you in the days of ordinary conversation and in the circumstances of secular employment.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in The Friends' Intelligencer (24 Jun 1882).
Added on 18-Jul-17 | Last updated 18-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Taylor, Jeremy

The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Beecher, Henry Ward

All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Polish-English novelist [b. Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski]
A Personal Record (1912)
Added on 21-Jun-17 | Last updated 21-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Conrad, Joseph

To ensure moral salvation, it is primarily necessary to depend on oneself, because in the moment of peril we are alone. And strength is not to be acquired instantaneously. He who knows that he will have to fight, prepares himself for boxing and dueling by strength and skill; he does not sit still with folded hands.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952) Italian educator, philosopher, educator, physician
The Advanced Montessori Method: Spontaneous Activity in Education, Vol. I (1917)
Added on 13-Jun-17 | Last updated 13-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Montessori, Maria

Blessed is he who has never been tempted; for he knows not the frailty of his rectitude.

Christopher Morley (1890-1957) American journalist, novelist, essayist, poet
Inward Ho!, ch. 1 (1923)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jun-17 | Last updated 12-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Morley, Christopher

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Unreferenced)
Added on 1-Jun-17 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Talmud

No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Economy” (1854)
    (Source)
Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
Link to this post | 5 comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Thoreau, Henry David

We repudiate all morality which proceeds from supernatural ideas or ideas which are outside the class conception. In our opinion, morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of the class war; everything is moral which is necessary for the annihilation of the old exploiting social order and for uniting the proletariat. Our morality consists solely in close discipline and conscious warfare against the exploiters.

Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1870-1924) Russian politician, revolutionary, political theorist [b. Vladimir Ilich Ulyamov]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in René Fülöp-Miller, Lenin and Gandhi (1927).
Added on 25-Apr-17 | Last updated 25-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Lenin, Vladimir Ilich

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
The Measures of Man (1959)
Added on 15-Apr-17 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
(Attributed)
Added on 22-Mar-17 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John

Nothing could be more grotesquely unjust than a code of morals, reinforced by laws, which relieves men from responsibility for irregular sexual acts, and for the same acts drives women to abortion, infanticide, prostitution, and self-destruction.

Suzanne La Follette (1893-1983) American journalist, author, feminist
Concerning Women (1926)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Mar-17 | Last updated 24-Mar-17
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by La Follette, Suzanne

No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Circles,” Essays: First Series (1841)
    (Source)
Added on 13-Feb-17 | Last updated 13-Feb-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Virtue is not always amiable.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Diary (9 Feb 1779)
Added on 25-Jan-17 | Last updated 25-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Adams, John

When all is said and all is done,
When all is lost or all is won —
In spite of musty theory,
Of purblind faith and vain conceit,
Of barren creed and sophistry:
In spite of all — success, defeat,
The Judge accords to worst and best,
Impartially, this final test:
What hast thou done with brawn and brain,
To help the world to lose or gain
An onward step? Canst reckon one
Unselfish, brave or noble deed,
That thou — nor counting cost! Hast done
To help a brother’s crying need?
Not what professed nor what believed
But what good thing hast thou achieved?

James Ball Naylor (1860-1945) American physician, writer, poet, politician
“The Final Test”
Added on 24-Jan-17 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Naylor, James Ball

The only reward of virtue is virtue.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Friendship,” Essays: First Series (1841)
Added on 23-Jan-17 | Last updated 23-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Character is higher than intellect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
The American Scholar, Sec. 3 (1837)
Added on 3-Jan-17 | Last updated 3-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. If the foundation be firm, the foundation will stand.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Commencement Address, Wheaton College, Norton, Mass. (17 Jun 1921)
Added on 6-Dec-16 | Last updated 6-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Coolidge, Calvin

Imposed virtues are not virtuous — they are conformist.

Graham Ericsson (b. 1947) American writer, aphorist
Into a New Day (2008)
Added on 2-Nov-16 | Last updated 2-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Ericsson, Graham

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

nelson-ultimate-test-of-mans-conscience-wist_info-quote

Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005) American politician and environmentalist
“Ah, Wilderness! Save It,” New York Times (4 Sep 1984)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Oct-16 | Last updated 2-Nov-16
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Nelson, Gaylord

I doubt if there is in the world a single problem, whether social, political, or economic, which would not find ready solution if men and nations would rule their lives according to the plain teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
“Greeting to the World’s Christian Endeavor Convention,” Melbourne (15 Jun 1938)
Added on 9-Oct-16 | Last updated 9-Oct-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

It is among the evils of slavery that it taints the very sources of moral principle. It establishes false estimates of virtue and vice: for what can be more false and heartless than this doctrine which makes the first and holiest rights of humanity to depend upon the color of the skin?

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Journal (1820)
Added on 26-Sep-16 | Last updated 26-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John Quincy

Fashions in sin change.

Hellman - fashions in sin change - wist_info quote

Lillian Hellman (1906-1987) American playwright, screenwriter
Watch on the Rhine (1941)
Added on 25-Aug-16 | Last updated 25-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hellman, Lillian

Content thyself to be obscurely good.
When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway,
The post of honour is a private station.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
Cato, Act 4, sc. 1, l. 319 (1713)
Added on 23-Aug-16 | Last updated 23-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Addison, Joseph

You judge a war according to who is in the right as long as you have no interest in the outcome; if you’re one of the participants, or if the result is going to have a major effect on you, then you have to create the moral principles that put you in the right — that’s nothing new, everyone knows it.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Dragon (1998)
Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brust, Steven

The virtues, like the body, become strong more by labor than by nourishment.

Jean-Paul Richter (1763-1825) German novelist, art historian, aesthetician [pseud. Jean-Paul]
(Attributed)

Quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Added on 20-Jul-16 | Last updated 20-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Richter, Jean-Paul

We have a marvelous gift, and you see it develop in children, this ability to become aware that other people have minds just like your own and feelings that are just as important as your own, and this gift of empathy seems to me to be the building block of our moral system.

Ian McEwan (b. 1948) English novelist and screenwriter
The Root of All Evil? documentary, Channel 4, United Kingdom (Jan 2006)
Added on 12-Jul-16 | Last updated 12-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by McEwan, Ian

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.

McEwan - someone other than yourself - wist_info quote

Ian McEwan (b. 1948) English novelist and screenwriter
“Only love and then oblivion,” The Guardian (15 Sep 2001)
    (Source)
Added on 9-May-16 | Last updated 9-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by McEwan, Ian

Under the guidance of reason, we should pursue the greater of two goods, and the lesser of two evils.

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch philosopher
Ethics, “Reason and Desire” (1677) [tr. Runes (1957)]
Added on 5-Apr-16 | Last updated 5-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Spinoza, Baruch

Moral indignation is in most cases 2 percent moral, 48 percent indignation, and 50 percent envy.

De Sica - 50 percent envy - wist_info quote

Vittorio De Sica (1901-1974) Italian neorealist director and actor
In The Observer (1961)

See also H. G. Wells.
Added on 31-Mar-16 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Sica, Vittorio

Good is that which makes for unity; Evil is that which makes for separateness.

Huxley - good unity evil separateness - wist_info quote

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Ends and Means, “Ethics” (1937)
Added on 15-Mar-16 | Last updated 15-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Huxley, Aldous

It is circumstance and proper measure that give an action its character, and make it either good or bad.

Plutarch (AD 46-127) Greek historian, biographer, essayist [Mestrius Plutarchos]
Parallel Lives, “Agisilaus” [tr. Dryden (1693)]
Added on 8-Mar-16 | Last updated 8-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Plutarch

The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.

De Stael - voice of conscience - wist_info quote

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Germany [De l’Allemagne], Part 3, ch. 13 (1813)
Added on 1-Mar-16 | Last updated 1-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by De Stael, Germaine

If you derive pleasure from the good which you have performed and you grieve for the evil which you have committed, you are a true believer.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
The Sayings of Muhammed, #67 [tr. Al-Suhrawardy (1941)]
Added on 1-Mar-16 | Last updated 1-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Muhammad

When “Do no Evil” has been understood,
Then learn the harder, braver rule, “Do Good.”

Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943) American poet, humorist
“Of Duty” (1924)
Added on 9-Feb-16 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Guiterman, Arthur

A religious life is a struggle and not a hymn.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Corinne, Book 10, ch. 5 (1807)
Added on 19-Jan-16 | Last updated 19-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by De Stael, Germaine

FIRST GOD: Show interest in her goodness — for no one can be good for long if goodness is not in demand.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) German poet, playwright, director, dramaturgist
The Good Person of Sezuan [Der gute Mensch von Sezuan], Scene 1a (1943) [tr. Bentley]
Added on 14-Jan-16 | Last updated 14-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Brecht, Bertholt

The first thing to learn in intercourse with others is non-interference with their own peculiar ways of being happy, provided those ways do not assume to interfere by violence with ours.

James - non-interference - wist_info quote

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
“What Makes a Life Significant,” Lecture, Harvard (1899)

Reprinted in Talks to Teachers on Psychology, Part 2, Lecture 3.
Added on 7-Jan-16 | Last updated 19-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by James, William

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, “Faith” (1952)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Jan-16 | Last updated 6-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

The good person loves people and uses things, while the bad person loves things and uses people.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
Pieces of Eight, ch. 4 (1982)
Added on 5-Jan-16 | Last updated 5-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sydney J.

Never for the sake of peace and quiet deny your convictions.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) Swedish diplomat, author, UN Secretary-General (1953-61)
Markings (1963)
Added on 22-Dec-15 | Last updated 22-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hammarskjold, Dag

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) American politician
Speech, US Senate (16 Sep 1981)
Added on 17-Dec-15 | Last updated 7-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Goldwater, Barry

Nothing is good or bad but by Comparison.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #3666 (1732)
Added on 1-Dec-15 | Last updated 1-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)