Descartes is often regarded as
the first thinker to emphasize the use of reason to develop the natural
1637 Rene Decartes
publishes Discours de la méthode.
A method for discovery of truth consists of
Accept nothing as
true unless one has no doubt.
Divide up each problem into as
many parts as possible and resolve each in the best manner
Carry on reflections
beginning with the most simple and proceed little by little, to
knowledge of the most
Make enumerations so complete and reviews so general that
one can be certain of omitting nothing.
"Man is composed of
a twofold nature, a
spiritual and a
the spiritual nature, which they
name the soul, he is called the spiritual, inward,
new man; as
regards the bodily nature, which they name the flesh, he is called the fleshly,
outward, old man." - Martin
Common sense is, of all things
among men, the most equally
Each thinks himself so abundantly provided, even those
difficult to satisfy,
do not usually desire a larger
measure than they already possess.
It is not likely that all are
mistaken the conviction it is rather to be held as testifying
the power of judging aright and
distinguishing truth from
error, properly called common sense or
by nature equal in all men.
The diversity of our opinions does not arise from some being endowed
with a larger share of reason than others, but solely by this,
we conduct our thoughts along
different ways, and do not fix
attention on the same objects.
To be possessed of a vigorous mind
the prime requisite is to rightly apply it.
He truly engages in battle who
endeavors to surmount all the
difficulties and errors which prevent him from reaching the
knowledge of truth.
Descartes, hold in esteem the studies of the schools.
I was aware that the languages
taught in them are necessary to the understanding of
the writings of the ancients;
that the grace of
narrative stirs the mind;
that the memorable deeds of history elevate it;
and, if read with
discretion, aid in forming
the perusal of
excellent books interviews the
noblest men of past ages;
eloquence has incomparable force
has its ravishing, its graces and
that in the mathematics there are
eminently suited to gratify the inquisitive,
further all the arts and lessen the
labor of man;
that numerous highly useful precepts
and exhortations to
points out the path to heaven;
that philosophy affords the means
of discoursing with an appearance of truth on all matters, and
commands the admiration of the
medicine, and the other sciences,
secure for their cultivators
honors revealing superstition and
error, that we may be in a
position to determine real
value, and guard against
I, Rene Descartes, am not at all astonished at
attributed to those ancient philosophers whose
own writings we do not possess.
I do not suppose them to have
really been absurd, seeing they
were among the ablest men, but only that these have been
falsely represented to us.
I am quite sure that
the most devoted of the
followers of Aristotle would
think themselves happy if they
had the knowledge of nature he
I, Rene Descartes,
never accepted anything for
true which I did not clearly know to be such unless
presented so distinctly as to
exclude all doubt.
I divide each of
the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and
as might be necessary for its
Commencing with objects the
simplest and easiest to know
I ascend step by step to
the knowledge of the more
complex and difficult to understand.
The long chains of simple
reason led me to envision that all
things are mutually
connected in the same way through unswayable rules.
There is nothing so far removed
to be beyond understanding.
Nothing so hidden we cannot discover
it, provided only we
abstain from accepting the false for the true, and
always preserve in our
thoughts the order necessary for the
deduction of one truth
sequentially from another.
truth discovered made
available the discovery of subsequent ones.
Expediency seemed to dictate that I
should regulate my behavior conformably to
the opinions of those with whom I
should have to live.
order to ascertain the real opinions of such, I ought rather to take
cognizance of what they
practiced rather than of what they said.
the corruption of our
manners, there are few disposed to
speak exactly as they believe, but also
many are not aware of what it is
they really believe.
believed is different from something known.
When it is not in our power to
determine what is true, we
ought to act according to what is most probable. (Apply Ockham's
I, Rene Descartes, endeavor to
conquer myself rather than fortune as
only our own thoughts are in our
power and to conform desire with natural order.
consider all objectives as beyond
our power, we shall no more regret the absence of success when deprived if we
recognize no fault of our own.
my conviction I could not do better than continue
devoting my whole life to the
culture of my reason; making progress in the
knowledge of truth.
I, Rene Descartes, attentively
examined what I was.
I observed I could envision that I had no
body, and that there was no Earth,
nor any place in which I might
be, but I could not envision that
I was not.
I still was, on the contrary, from the very circumstance
that I thought to doubt the truth
of other things, it most
clearly followed that I remained.
I, Rene Descartes, concluded
I was a substance whose whole essence or
nature consists only in thinking
not dependent on anything
Rene Descartes = Cartesius
I, that is to say, the
mind by which I
am what I
am, is wholly distinct
from the body, and is even
more easily known than the body(?),
and is such, that although the body were not, it would still continue to be all
that it is.
Although I, Rene Descartes,
might think I was dreaming,
that all which I saw or imagined
was false, I could not deny the reality of my
I was disposed straightway to
search for other truths.
I, Rene Descartes, perceived that there was nothing to these
demonstrations which could assure me of the existence of their object.
For example, supposing
a triangle to be given, I distinctly perceived that its
three angles were necessarily
equal to two right angles, but I did not on that account
perceive anything which could
assure me that any triangle
persuaded there is a difficulty in knowing this truth; in knowing what
their mind really is because they never engage in
consider everything through visualization, a
mode of thinking limited to
real objects; all that is
unimaginable appears to them
of this is manifest from the single point the
philosophers accept as a maxim there is
nothing not previously indentified by the
abstraction they do exactly the same thing as if, in order to
hear sounds or
they strove to avail themselves of
Unless indeed the
sense of sight does not afford us an inferior assurance to those of
hearing; in place of
which, neither our imagination
nor our senses can give us assurance
of anything unless our understanding intervene.
God is or exists because all that we possess is
derived from God.
It follows that
our ideas or notions, which
to the extent of their clearness
and distinctness are real, and proceed from God, must
to that extent be
We not infrequently have ideas
or notions in which some falsity is contained,
this can only be the case
when we proceed from lack of knowledge.
knowledge has rendered us
certain, we can easily understand that the truth of reason
we experience when
awake, ought not in the slightest degree to be
called into question on
account of the illusions of our dreams.
Never be persuaded of the truth of anything unless on the evidence of
I have observed laws
established by God are
observed in all that exists.
these laws reveal many
truths more useful and more important than all I had before learned, or
even had expected to learn.
If God were to now compose a universe
and after that did nothing more than lend ordinary concurrence to nature,
and allow nature to act in accordance with the
Laws of Nature, the result,
by necessity, would be as our
I, Rene Descartes, endeavored to demonstrate to all until there
could be any room for doubt, and
to prove that even if God had
forged more worlds, there could have been none
in which these laws were not observed.
An opinion commonly received
the action which sustains the
universe is the same with that by which it was originally forged.
God, in the miracle of
Creation, established certain Laws of Nature.
purely material might have become as we observe them at present.
nature is easily envisioned when
beheld coming in this manner gradually into existence,
rather than at once in a
finished perfect state.
I, Rene Descartes,
perceived it to be possible to arrive at knowledge
highly useful in life; so natural that no one can imagine
himself ignorant of it.
In light of the speculative philosophy
usually taught in the schools, to discover a practical means by which to know
the force and action of fire, water, air,
the stars, the heavens, and
the other elements that surround us.
As distinctly as we know
the various crafts of our artisans,
we might also apply them to render ourselves
the lords and possessors of
Fruits of the
Earth, the blessings of life,
examined what were the first and most ordinary effects that could be deduced
from these causes; and found knowledge of the heavens and
on Earth knowledge of water, air, fire,
minerals, and other things which of all others are the most common and simple,
and hence the easiest to know.
I, Rene Descartes,
deduce germs of truths naturally existing
in our minds.
It is necessary to confess the power of nature is so
ample and these principles so simple and general, that I have hardly observed a
single particular effect which I cannot at once recognize as capable of being
deduced by mankind.
Thereupon, turning over in my mind, the real objects
that had ever been presented to my senses I freely venture to state that I have
never observed any which I could not satisfactorily explain by the
Laws of Nature.
Rene Descartes, am confident there is no one who does not admit
all that is presently known is
nothing in comparison of what
remains to be discovered.
I incite men to strive to proceed farther
by informing the public of all they might
discover, the last beginning
where those before left off connecting
the lives and labors of many
we might collectively
proceed much farther.
If I, Rene Descartes, were to
publish the principles of my
philosophy: to assent to them no more is needed than simply to understand
I foresee that I shall
frequently be turned aside from my grand voyage of discovery on occasion of
the opposition it is sure to
By publishing the principles of the
my philosophy I hope to throw open the windows and allow the
light of day to enter.
It is likely that Rene Descartes died of
poisioning while tutoring
Queen Cristina of Sweden.
from brief insights into the nature of things.
Although such insights
are rare and difficult to sustain they allow
a glimpse of the basis of desire
granting us the ability to control that
Those who have mastery over desire will walk in
Those who possess this knowledge of Self readily come to believe that
any other individual can have the same knowledge about Self as this knowledge
involves nothing which depends on anything outside of Self.
"The Scientific Method relies
for its supra-cultural validity on principles that are
themselves among its own
logic of its
justification is circular.
would be an aborigine insisting, "Okay, let's settle this question of whether
scientific experiment or
dreaming is the way to true
knowledge once and for all. Let's settle it by entering the
dreamtime and asking ancestors."
assumptions of objectivity
and determinism at the
foundation of the Scientific
Method are not shared by all traditions of thought.
A non-objective, non-deterministic, coherent
system of thought is possible.
It is more than possible: it is
necessary given the impending collapse of the world of the discrete and
separate self that we have wrought.
Necessary in light of the new
scientific revolution of the last hundred years.
Our ways of thinking are not working
anymore." - Charles Eisenstein
La methodé contained three
appendices: La Dioptrique, Les Météories, and La
In La Géométrie Descartes
proposed each point on a two dimensional plane can be represented by two
numbers, one giving the point's horizontal location and the other the vertical
location - Cartesian coordinates.
Perpendicular lines (or axes), cross
at a point called the origin, to measure the horizontal (x) and vertical (y)
locations, both positive and negative, thus effectively dividing the plane up
into four quadrants.
Any equation can be represented on the plane by
plotting on it the solution set of the equation.
This can be
extrapolated into three dimensions as seen above.
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