Quotations by Descartes, René


I did not imitate the sceptics who doubt only for doubting’s sake, and pretend to be always undecided; on the contrary, my whole intention was to arrive at a certainty, and to dig away the drift and the sand until I reached the rock or the clay beneath.

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
“Discourse Touching the Method of Using One’s Reason Rightly and of Seeking Scientific Truth” (1870)

Alt. trans.: "I was not copying the sceptics, who doubt only for the sake of doubting and pretend to be always undecided; on the contrary, my whole aim was to reach certainty -- to cast aside the loose earth and sand so as to come upon rock or clay." [Cottingham, Stothoff and Murdoch (1988)]
Added on 28-Dec-12 | Last updated 9-Jan-13
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The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode] (1637)
Added on 16-Jun-16 | Last updated 16-Jun-16
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It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Le Discours de la M
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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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.

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Le Discours de la M
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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.

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Le Discours de la Méthode, Part 1 (1637)

    Alt. trans.:
  • Good sense is of all things in the world the most equally distributed, for everybody thinks he is so well supplied with it, that even those most difficult to please in all other matters never desire more of it than they already possess.
  • Common sense is the best distributed commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.
  • Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Mar-14
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