portrait of René Descartes
Oil on canvas by Frans Hals, 1649

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Quotes of the Day for 31 March 2003 – René Descartes

René Descartes was born at La Haye, Touraine (now Indre-et-Loire), France on this day in 1596. He entered the Jesuit college at La Fleche at age eight, went on to a law degree from the University of Poitiers in 1616. He set off on a military career, but somehow set himself up to create a unified science of nature. He concluded that science should only proceed based on certainty, rather than probability, which was a minority opinion in Europe at the time. His concepts became the core of Continental Rationalism. He was also known for unifying algebra and geometry - any statistical graph you see is based on Cartesian coordinates.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.


The quotes:

Conquer yourself, not the world.

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.

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

Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.

Good sense is of all things in the world the most equally distributed, for everyone thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that even those most difficult to please in all other matters do not commonly desire more of it than they already possess.

One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another.
     - All from René Descartes, 1595 - 1650


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