Best 40 René Descartes Quotes

René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. He is often called the father of modern philosophy because of his influential works, which laid the groundwork for much of modern Western philosophy.

Descartes is known for his method of doubt, which he developed as a means of arriving at certain knowledge. He believed that one could only be certain of what they knew with absolute certainty, and that everything else should be doubted until it could be proven beyond a doubt. This method became an important tool for philosophers and scientists, who used it to establish the foundations of their knowledge.

Descartes also made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics and science. He developed the Cartesian coordinate system, which is still used in geometry today, and he was one of the founders of analytical geometry. He also made important contributions to the field of optics, developing a theory of light and color.

Perhaps Descartes' most famous philosophical work is his Meditations on First Philosophy, in which he presents his method of doubt and argues for the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. This work had a profound influence on subsequent philosophy, shaping the way philosophers thought about knowledge, the self, and the nature of reality.

In addition to his method of doubt and contributions to mathematics and science, Descartes also made significant contributions to the philosophy of mind. He famously argued for mind-body dualism, the idea that the mind and body are separate entities that interact with each other. According to Descartes, the mind is a non-physical substance that is responsible for thought, consciousness, and perception, while the body is a physical substance subject to the laws of physics and biology.

Descartes also had an important influence on the development of modern rationalism, a philosophical approach that emphasizes reason and intuition as the primary sources of knowledge. Rationalists believe that some truths can be known a priori, or independent of experience, and that reason is capable of discovering these truths.

Despite his significant contributions to philosophy, mathematics, and science, Descartes' ideas were not universally accepted during his lifetime. He was criticized by some for his dualism and his reliance on reason, which some saw as a rejection of faith and traditional authority. However, his ideas continued to be influential in the centuries after his death, and his legacy can still be felt in philosophy, mathematics, and science today.

40 René Descartes Quotes

1. "Cogito, ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am").
2. "Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it."
3. "I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake."
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. "The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries."
6. "It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well."
7. "Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."
8. "I am not accustomed to saying anything with certainty after only one or two observations."
9. "The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once."
10. "I think, therefore I am, is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches."
11. "Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it."
12. "The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt."
13. "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?"
14. "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
15. "I am indeed amazed when I consider how weak my mind is and how prone to error."
16. "It is not possible to conceive anything more strange and improbable than this scheme of transmutation of species."
17. "Perfect numbers, like perfect men, are very rare."
18. "Travelling is almost like talking with men of other centuries."
19. "The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries."
20. "It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well."
21. "I am a thinking thing, that is, a being who doubts, affirms, denies, knows a few objects, and is ignorant of many."
22. "All things are only a perspective... until the observer has placed himself in relation to them."
23. "The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues."
24. "The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."
25. "The reason why physics has made such astonishing progress in the last few years is that they have been able to discard all the old ideas which had been imbued with an entirely different spirit."
26. "I am not my thoughts, emotions, or sensations. I am the conscious awareness behind them."
27. "It is not the mind that should be blamed, but the heart, which is the seat of all malice and perversity."
28. "The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once."
29. "I am certain that I am a thinking being; but do I not therefore likewise know what is required to make me certain of something?"
30. "The natural light is not extinguished in the soul until it be overwhelmed by the darkness of sin."
31. "I am never happier than when I am alone in a foreign city; it is as if I had become invisible."
32. "To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say."
33. "It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived."
34. "The whole art of reasoning consists in being able to separate the essential from the accidental and to determine the relevance of the facts and their consistency."
35. "It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well."
36. "There is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another."
37. "There is nothing more ancient than the truth."
38. "In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate."
39. "I am a citizen of the world, known to all and to all a stranger."
40. "The mind is more powerful than any drug, and that's what needs to be nourished."

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