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Rene Descartes Quotes

French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer.
(1596 - 1650)

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. . .to be useful to no one is, strictly speaking, to be worthless.

A state is better governed which has few laws, and those laws strictly observed.

All is to be doubted.

An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.
[Common Sense]

Conquer yourself rather than the world.
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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.

Everything is self-evident.

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

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.

I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.

I am indeed amazed when I consider how weak my mind is and how prone to error.

I concluded that I might take as a general rule the principle that all things which we very clearly and obviously conceive are true: only observing, however, that there is some difficulty in rightly determining the objects which we distinctly conceive.

I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery.

I know not if I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or if I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.

I think; therefore I am. (Cogito ergo sum.)

If I found any new truths in the sciences, I can say that they follow from, or depend on, five or six principal problems which I succeeded in solving and which I regard as so many battles where the fortunes of war were on my side.

If we possessed a thorough knowledge of all the parts of the seed of any animal (e.g. man), we could from that alone, by reasons entirely mathematical and certain, deduce the whole conformation and figure of each of its members, and, conversely if we knew several peculiarities of this conformation, we would from those deduce the nature of its seed.

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