Who is Rene Descartes
René Descartes, (born March 31, 1596, La Haye, Touraine, France—died February 11, 1650, Stockholm, Sweden), French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. Because he was one of the first to abandon Scholastic Aristotelianism, because he formulated the first modern version of mind-body dualism, from which stems the mind-body problem, and because he promoted the development of a new science grounded in observation and experiment, he has been called the father of modern philosophy. Applying an original system of methodical doubt, he dismissed apparent knowledge derived from authority, the senses, and reason and erected new epistemic foundations on the basis of the intuition that, when he is thinking, he exists; this he expressed in the dictum “I think, therefore I am” (best known in its Latin formulation, “Cogito, ergo sum,” though originally written in French, “Je pense, donc je suis”). He developed a metaphysical dualism that distinguishes radically between mind, the essence of which is thinking, and matter, the essence of which is extension in three dimensions. Descartes’s metaphysics is rationalist, based on the postulation of innate ideas of mind, matter, and God, but his physics and physiology, based on sensory experience, are mechanistic and empiricist.
Rene Descartes Quotes
1. I think; therefore I am.
2. The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
3. Cogito ergo sum.
4. If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
5. I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.
6. Conquer yourself rather than the world.
7. Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.
8. Doubt is the origin of wisdom
9. Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.
10. It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.
11. And thus, the actions of life often not allowing any delay, it is a truth very certain that, when it is not in our power to determine the most true opinions we ought to follow the most probable.
12. To know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say.
13. The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues.
14. I desire to live in peace and to continue the life I have begun under the motto ‘to live well you must live unseen.
15. Masked, I advance.
16. It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.
17. Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum.
(English: “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”)
18. You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.
19. But in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.
20. To live without philosophizing is in truth the same as keeping the eyes closed without attempting to open them.
21. In order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.
22. There is nothing more ancient than the truth.
23. For I found myself embarrassed with so many doubts and errors that it seemed to me that the effort to instruct myself had no effect other than the increasing discovery of my own ignorance
24. In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn than to contemplate.
25. He who hid well, lived well.
26. Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.
27. Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.
28. At last I will devote myself sincerely and without reservation to the general demolition of my opinions.
29. With me, everything turns into mathematics.
30. Because reason…is the only thing that makes us men, and distinguishes us from the beasts, I would prefer to believe that it exists, in its entirety, in each of us…
31. Dubium sapientiae initium.
32. …it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once.
33. Let whoever can do so deceive me, he will never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I continue to think I am something.
34. Good sense is the most equitably distributed of all things because no matter how much or little a person has, everyone feels so abundantly provided with good sense that he feels no desire for more than he already possesses.
35. The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts.
36. Some years ago I was struck by the large number of falsehoods that I had accepted as true in my childhood, and by the highly doubtful nature of the whole edifice that I had subsequently based on them. I realized that it was necessary, once in the course of my life, to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations if I wanted to establish anything at all in the sciences that was stable and likely to last.
37. But I cannot forget that, at other times I have been deceived in sleep by similar illusions; and, attentively considering those cases, I perceive so clearly that there exist no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep, that I feel greatly astonished; and in amazement I almost persuade myself that I am now dreaming.
38. I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am.
39. So blind is the curiosity by which mortals are possessed, that they often conduct their minds along unexplored routes, having no reason to hope for success, but merely being willing to risk the experiment of finding whether the truth they seek lies there.
40. It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.
41. Bad books engender bad habits, but bad habits engender good books.
42. I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.
43. It is best not to go on for great quest for truth , it will only make you miserable
44. Whatever I have up till now accepted as most true and assured I have gotten either from the senses or through the senses. But from time to time I have found that the senses deceive, and it is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us even once.
45. My third maxim was to endeavor always to conquer myself rather than fortune, and change my desires rather than the order of the world, and in general, accustom myself to the persuasion that, except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power; so that when we have done our best in things external to us, all wherein we fail of success is to be held, as regards us, absolutely impossible: and this single principle seemed to me sufficient to prevent me from desiring for the future anything which I could not obtain, and thus render me contented.
46. But what then am I? A thing that thinks. What is that? A thing that doubts, understand, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, and that also imagines and senses.
47. Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.
48. I am thing that thinks: that is, a things that doubts,affirms, denies, understands a few things, is ignorant of many things, is willing, is unwilling, and also which imagines and has sensory perceptions.
49. When I turn my mind’s eye upon myself, I understand that I am a thing which is incomplete and dependent on another and which aspires without limit to ever greater and better things…
50. […] the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise from some being endowed with a larger share of reason than others, but solely from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and do not fix our attention on the same objects. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellences, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.
51. I knew that the languages which one learns there are necessary to understand the works of the ancients; and that the delicacy of fiction enlivens the mind; that famous deeds of history ennoble it and, if read with understanding, aid in maturing one’s judgment; that the reading of all the great books is like conversing with the best people of earlier times; it is even studied conversation in which the authors show us only the best of their thoughts; that eloquence has incomparable powers and beauties; that poetry has enchanting delicacy and sweetness; that mathematics has very subtle processes which can serve as much to satisfy the inquiring mind as to aid all the arts and diminish man’s labor; that treatises on morals contain very useful teachings and exhortations to virtue; that theology teaches us how to go to heaven; that philosophy teaches us to talk with appearance of truth about things, and to make ourselves admired by the less learned; that law, medicine, and the other sciences bring honors and wealth to those who pursue them; and finally, that it is desirable to have examined all of them, even to the most superstitious and false in order to recognize their real worth and avoid being deceived thereby
52. Dubium sapientiae initium (Doubt is the origin of wisdom).
53. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellence, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.
54. Whenever enyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.
55. The destruction of the foundations necessarily brings down the whole edifice.
56. Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems.
57. And what more am I? I look for aid to the imagination. [But how mistakenly!] I am not that assemblage of limbs we call the human body; I am not a subtle penetrating air distributed throughout all these members; I am not a wind, a fire, a vapor, a breath or anything at all that I can image. I am supposing all these things to be nothing. Yet I find, while so doing, that I am still assured that I am a something.
58. Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.
59. Whence then come my errors? They come from the sole fact that since the will is much wider in its range and compass than the understanding, I do not restrain it within the same bounds, but extend it also to things which I do not understand: and as the will is of itself indifferent to these, it easily falls into error and sin, and chooses the evil for the good, or the false for the true.
60. I think therefore I am.