Top Descartes Quotes

Browse top 35 famous quotes and sayings about Descartes by most favorite authors.

Favorite Descartes Quotes

1. "Those whom nature destined to make her disciples have no need of teachers. Bacon, Descartes, Newton — these tutors of the human race had no need of tutors themselves, and what guides could have led them to those places where their vast genius carried them? Ordinary teachers could only have limited their understanding by confining it to their own narrow capabilities. With the first obstacles, they learned to exert themselves and made the effort to traverse the immense space they moved through. If it is necessary to permit some men to devote themselves to the study of the sciences and the arts, that should be only for those who feel in themselves the power to walk alone in those men's footsteps and to move beyond them. It is the task of this small number of people to raise monuments to the glory of the human mind."
Author: Bacon
2. "Je pense, donc je suis...Descartes"
Author: Barbara Ann Mojica
3. "What Comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his bowels!"
Author: Benjamin Franklin
4. "We may say, in a broad way, that Greek philosophy down to Aristotle expresses the mentality appropriate to the City State; that Stoicism is appropriate to a cosmopolitan despotism; that stochastic philosophy is an intellectual expression of the Church as an organization; that philosophy since Descartes, or at any rate since Locke, tends to embody the prejudices of the commercial middle class; and that Marxism and Fascism are the philosophies appropriate to the modern industrial state."
Author: Bertrand Russell
5. "Some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. "I think, therefore I am" says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we are quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense. But the real Self is as hard to arrive at as the real table, and does not seem to have that absolute, convincing certainty that belongs to particular experiences."
Author: Bertrand Russell
6. "Ever since Plato most philosophers have considered it part of their business to produce ‘proofs' of immortality and the existence of God. They have found fault with the proofs of their predecessors — Saint Thomas rejected Saint Anselm's proofs, and Kant rejected Descartes' — but they have supplied new ones of their own. In order to make their proofs seem valid, they have had to falsify logic, to make mathematics mystical, and to pretend that deepseated prejudices were heaven-sent intuitions."
Author: Bertrand Russell
7. "Death is, and must be, deeply emotional. To intentionally cause death is to engender a form of intimacy, one that we're not used to thinking about. To kill without emotion and without respect, or to ignore the intimacy inherent in the act, is to rob it of its dignity, and to rob the life that you are ending of its significance. By robbing death and life of significance we reduce ourselves to the machines Descartes dreamed about. And we deny our own significance."
Author: Derrick Jensen
8. "I no longer see Descartes' statement as arbitrary. It is representative of our culture's narcissism. This narcissism leads to a disturbing disrespect for direct experience and a negation of the body."
Author: Derrick Jensen
9. "Instead of René Descartes' famous "Cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am), I propose "Communico ergo sum," (I communicate, therefore I exist") as the philosophical proof of man's existence."
Author: Descartes
10. "Very few of us can now place ourselves in the mental condition in which even such philosophers as the great Descartes were involved in the days before Newton had announced the true laws of the motion of bodies."
Author: Descartes
11. "Când ma gândesc ce putin am de învatat de la marii filozofi! Niciodata n-am avut nevoie de Kant, de Descartes sau de Aristotel, care n-au gândit decât pentru orele noastre sigure, pentru îndoielile noastre permise. Dar m-am oprit la Iov cu pietatea unui stranepot."
Author: Emil Cioran
12. "If pure philosophy took any of its ideas from Christian revelation, if anything in the Bible and the Gospel has passed into metaphysics, if, in short, it is inconceivable that the system of Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz would be what in fact they are had they been altogether withdrawn from Christian influence, then it becomes, highly probable that since the influence of Christianity on philosophy was a reality, the concept of Christian philosophy is not without a real meaning."
Author: Étienne Gilson
13. "Descartes spent far too much time in bed subject to the persistent hallucination that he was thinking. You are not free from a similar disorder."
Author: Flann O'Brien
14. "În zilele noastre, Descartes n-ar mai scrie: "Cuget, deci exist". Ar spune: "Sunt singur, deci cuget"
Author: Frédéric Beigbeder
15. "Since the days of Descartes it has been a conception familiar to philosophers that every visible event in nature might be explained by previous visible events, and that all the motions, for instance, of the tongue in speech, or of the hand in painting, might have merely physical causes. If consciousness is thus accessory to life and not essential to it, the race of man might have existed upon the earth and acquired all the arts necessary for its subsistence without possessing a single sensation, idea, or emotion. Natural selection might have secured the survival of those automata which made useful reactions upon their environment. An instinct would have been developed, dangers would have been shunned without being feared, and injuries avenged without being felt."
Author: George Santayana
16. "Don't listen to people telling you that getting up early is best. René Descartes is one of history's most important philosophers, but he rarely got out of bed before noon - and when he started getting up early for a new job as a private tutor, it caused him to catch pneumonia and die."
Author: Gideon Defoe
17. "In fact the problem Leopardi is facing is speculative and metaphysical, a problem in the history of philosophy from Parmenides to Descartes and Kant: the relationship between the idea of infinity as absolute space and absolute time, and our empirical knowledge of space and time."
Author: Italo Calvino
18. "Cand aveam 20 de ani ma îmbatam si pe urma explicam ca sunt un tip în genul lui Descartes. Simteam ca ma umflu de eroism, îmi dadeam frîu liber, îmi placea. Dupa care, a doua zi, eram la fel de scîrbit ca si cînd m-as fi trezit într-un pat plin de varsaturi. Ieri n-aveam nici macar scuza betiei. M-am exaltat ca un imbecil. Am nevoie sa ma curat cu gînduri abstracte, transparente ca apa."
Author: Jean Paul Sartre
19. "One can ask why the I has to appear in the cogito {Descartes' argument "I think therefore I am.}, since the cogito, if used rightly, is the awareness of pure consciousness, not directed at any fact or action. In fact the I is not necessary here, since it is never united directly to consciousness. One can even imagine a pure and self-aware consciousness which thinks of itself as impersonal spontaneity."
Author: Jean Paul Sartre
20. "In his 1923 review of James Joyce Ulysses, T. S. Eliot focused on one of his generation's recurrent anxieties--the idea that art might be impossible in the twentieth century. The reasons that art seemed impossible are many and complex, but they were all related to the collapse of ways of knowing that had served the Western mind at least since the Renaissance and that had received canonical formulation in the seventeenth century in the science of Newton and the philosophy of Descartes. In both science and philosophy, the crisis was essentially epistemological; that is, it was related to radical uncertainty about how we know what we know about the real world. This crisis, disorienting even to specialists, was at once a cause of despair and an incentive for innovation in the arts."
Author: Jewel Spears Brooker
21. "It's a philosophical minefield!"Cabal had a brief mental image of Aristotle walking halfway across an open field before unexpectedly disappearing in a fireball. Descartes and Nietzsche looked on appalled. He pulled himself together."
Author: Jonathan L. Howard
22. "When we dream, we feel we are experiencing reality. What separates our waking feelings from our dream feelings?""When I consider this carefully, I find not a single property which with certainty separates the waking state from the dream," writes Descartes. And he goes on: "How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?"
Author: Jostein Gaarder
23. "Whatever our definition of truth may be, we can never renounce Descartes' clare et distincte (clarity and distinctness)."
Author: Lev Shestov
24. "I discover vision, not as a "thinking about seeing," to use Descartes expression, but as a gaze at grips with a visible world, and that is why for me there can be another's gaze."
Author: Maurice Merleau Ponty
25. "Another image comes to mind: Nietzsche leaving his hotel in Turin. Seeing a horse and a coachman beating it with a whip, Nietzsche went up to the horse and, before the coachman's very eyes, put his arms around the horse's neck and burst into tears.That took place in 1889, when Nietzsche, too, had removed himself from the world of people. In other words, it was at the time when his mental illness had just erupted. But for that very reason I feel his gesture has broad implications: Nietzsche was trying to apologize to the horse of Descartes. His lunacy (that is, his final break with mankind) began at the very moment he burst into tears over the horse."
Author: Milan Kundera
26. "Descartes, the Frenchman, had little trouble knowing that he existed."
Author: N.D. Wilson
27. "The analytical geometry of Descartes and the calculus of Newton and Leibniz have expanded into the marvelous mathematical method—more daring than anything that the history of philosophy records—of Lobachevsky and Riemann, Gauss and Sylvester. Indeed, mathematics, the indispensable tool of the sciences, defying the senses to follow its splendid flights, is demonstrating today, as it never has been demonstrated before, the supremacy of the pure reason."
Author: Nicholas Murray Butler
28. "The law of gravity and gravity itself did not exist before Isaac Newton." ...and what that means is that that law of gravity exists nowhere except in people's heads! It 's a ghost!"Mind has no matter or energy but they can't escape its predominance over everything they do. Logic exists in the mind. numbers exist only in the mind. I don't get upset when scientists say that ghosts exist in the mind. it's that only that gets me. science is only in your mind too, it's just that that doesn't make it bad. or ghosts either."Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Law of logic, of mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts."...we see what we see because these ghosts show it to us, ghosts of Moses and Christ and the Buddha, and Plato, and Descartes, and Rousseau and Jefferson and Lincoln, on and on and on. Isaac Newton is a very good ghost. One of the best. Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past."
Author: Robert M. Pirsig
29. "The ideal of the 11th/17th century physicists was to be able to explain all physical reality in terms of the movement of atoms. This idea was extended by people like Descartes who saw the human body itself as nothing but a machine. Chemists tried to study chemical reaction in this light and reduce chemistry to a form of physics, and biologists tried to reduce their science to simply chemical reactions and then finally to the movement of physical particles. The idea of reductionsm which is innate to modern science and which was only fortified by the tehory of evolution could be described as the reduction fo the spirit to the psyche, the psyche to biological activity, life to lifeless matter and lifeless matter to purely quantitative particles or bundles of energy whose movements can be measured and quantified."
Author: Seyyed Hossein Nasr
30. "The philosophical connection between the Islamic world and the West is much closer than I thought. Doubt did not begin with Descartes. We have this construction today that the West and Islam are entirely separate worlds. This is wrong."
Author: Tariq Ramadan
31. "That is why I don't believe much in what Mr. Descartes said: "I think, therefore I am." I think, therefore I'm lost in my thinking. I'm not there."
Author: Thích Nhất Hạnh
32. "It took Descartes to deduce that God would not wish to deceive us. The world must be as it appears to be, the Frenchman deduced, because a perfect God would never wish to deceive us. Nothing has been explicable since."
Author: Tim Parks
33. "Logic limits love, which may be why Descartes never married."
Author: Tom Robbins
34. "What Descartes did not know: no such isolated individual as he described can be conscious."
Author: Walker Percy
35. "In formulating any philosophy the first consideration must always be: What can we know? That is, what can we be sure we know, or sure that we know we knew it, if indeed it is at all knowable. Or have we simply forgotten it and are too embarrassed to say anything? Descartes hinted at the problem when he wrote, 'My mind can never know my body, although it has become quite friendly with my legs."
Author: Woody Allen

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One kind of good book should leave you asking: how did the author know that about me?"
Author: Alain De Botton

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