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Quotes of the day: René Descartes

Published Thursday, March 31, 2016 @ 5:37 AM EDT
Mar 31 2016

René Descartes (Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: "Cartesian"; March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Dubbed the father of modern western philosophy, much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All those who hold opinions quite opposed to ours are not on that account barbarians or savages.

Bad books engender bad habits, but bad habits engender good books.

Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it

Conquer yourself rather than the world.

Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.

Doubt is the origin of wisdom.

Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems.

Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.

I think, therefore I am.

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.

In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn than to contemplate.

It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it.

Nothing comes out of nothing.

Of all things, good sense is the most fairly distributed: everyone thinks he is so well supplied with it that even those who are the hardest to satisfy in every other respect never desire more of it than they already have.

One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another.

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.

The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt.

The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues.

The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.

To know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say.

When it is not in our power to determine the most true opinions we ought to follow the most probable.


(March 30 is also the birthday of Sean O'Casey.)

Categories: René Descartes


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