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René Descartes – Quotes – Part III – Method, Love, Free thoughts

Published by Editor in Philosophy, René Descartes
data: 24/03/2014

The Four Rational Methods

The first method was never to accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my judgment than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.

The second method, to divide each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and as might be necessary for its adequate solution.

The third method, to conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little and little, and, as it were, step by step, to the knowledge of the more complex; assigning in thought a certain order even to those objects which in their own nature do not stand in a relation of antecedence and

The fourth method was to make numerations so complete and revisions so thorough what I was sure nothing was omitted.


It seems to me that distinctions within love may more reasonably be made in terms of our esteem for what we love in comparison with ourselves. For when we esteem the object of our Love less than ourselves, we have only a simple affection for it; when we esteem it equally with ourselves, this is named friendship; and when we esteem it more, the passion we have may be named devotion.

Now, the difference between these three sorts of love becomes apparent principally through their effects, for inasmuch as in all of them we consider ourselves as joined and United to the thing loved, we are always ready to abandon the lesser part of the whole we compose with it in order to preserve the other.

Therefore in simple affection we always prefer ourselves to what we love, while on the other hand in devotion we so prefer the thing loved to ourselves that we are not afraid to Mortals are so bound by blind curiosity that they often lead their intelligence down unfamiliar paths without any reason for hope, but merely to test if what they seek may happen to lie there. It is as if someone were so consumed by a foolish desire to find treasure, that they constantly wandered the streets hoping to find, by chance, something that had been lost by a passer-by.

Free thoughts

It is very certain that the natural light is obscured and our intelligence is blinded by disordered studies and obscure meditation. Anyone who gets used to walking thus in the shadows weakens their eyesight to such an extent that they cannot subsequently tolerate. Lastly, considering that the very thoughts we have while awake may also occur while we sleep without any of them being at that time true, I resolved to pretend that all the things that had never entered my mind were no more true than the illusions of my dreams. But immediately I noticed that while I was endeavoring in this way to think that everything was false, it was necessary that I, who was thinking this, was something. And observing this truth ‘I am thinking, therefore I exist’ was so firm and sure that all the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics were incapable of shaking it, I decided that I could accept it without scruple as the first principle of the philosophy I was seeking.

All men pay more attention to words than things; and this often makes them agree with terms which they do not understand and do not care to understand, or because they believe to have understood them in other times, or because it seemed that the persons who they learned from knew the meaning and they have learned by the same means.

To live without philosophy is to have one’s eyes closed without ever trying to open them.

And lastly, this study is more necessary to govern our customs and conduct us through this life than the use of our eyes to guide our footsteps. With the search for all the truths we are capable of knowing, we entreat, in first place, to free ourselves from our own prejudices, and to be in condition to reject all the opinions we once received through our beliefs until we have examined them over again.

Men who are moved by passions are capable of having more sweetness in their lives.

Humanly speaking, there is no one who is happy without the other also being

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