René Descartes 1596—1650

Portrait of René Descartes by Frans Hals

Portrait of René Descartes by Frans Hals [Wikimedia]

The French philosopher René Descartes was born on this day in 1596 at La Haye en Touraine. The first quote below is, of course, the one that everyone knows in its truncated form, even if they have no idea who said it or what it means.

‘Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum.’
‘I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am.’

‘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.’

‘The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.’

‘Conquer yourself rather than the world.’

‘Let whoever can do so deceive me, he will never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I continue to think I am something.’

Dispute of Queen Cristina Vasa and René Descartes (detail of Nils Forsberg's (1842-1934) copy of Pierre Louis Dumesnil's (1698-1781) original.

Dispute of Queen Cristina Vasa and René Descartes (detail of Nils Forsberg’s (1842-1934) copy of Pierre Louis Dumesnil’s (1698-1781) original. [Wikimedia]

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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