Notes on Descartes’s “Discourse on the Method”.

The “Discourse on Method” was written by Descartes. Here are some notes on this text. I would also like to remind that none of my notes are quotations, but paraphrases, in order to avoid problems with copyright.

  1. It’s no use having a good brain if you do not apply it correctly.
  2. Slowly walk the right path, rather than rushing on the wrong path.
  3. A friend may feel too embarrassed to criticize you, even when you need to be criticized.
  4. The method described in this book is personal and may not work with everyone.
  5. If you are recognized as “erudite”, that doesn’t mean you really are erudite.
  6. All books are valuable and all sciences must be studied.
  7. Reading and traveling are equally important.
  8. Spending your entire life in one place makes you more prone to judging other cultures using yours as reference.
  9. Nonetheless, don’t travel too much, or you will forget about where you live.
  10. Do not read fiction if you do not know how to separate fiction from reality.
  11. If poetry is an artistic gift, it is natural that not everyone can compose poetry.
  12. Truth can convince without rhetorical devices.
  13. Every person has an affinity for a certain kind of science or study.
  14. Not all things that present themselves as virtue are really virtue.
  15. The existence of many opinions can lead one to skepticism.
  16. Exact sciences can not have dubious foundation.
  17. If you are not poor, you do not have to pervert your moral principles for money.
  18. In school you learn what is already there, but in life you must be original.
  19. When a child, study the books; when an adult, study the world; when an elder, study yourself.
  20. Inventions made by more than one person and consisting of several components are less perfect than machines with less components, specially if those are developed by just one person.
  21. If there is only one legislator, all laws work for the same purpose, which is established by the legislator, which makes it easier to follow the law, as you only need to know that guiding principle rather than all laws individually.
  22. There are people who see themselves as very original and wise, which makes them feel entitled to talk about things they didn’t study about, and there are people who are too shy to be original, simply repeating what has already been said by those who have authority.
  23. If you pay no attention to controversies between scientists or philosophers, you are likely too shy to defy authority, pretending you can agree with everyone.
  24. Your character changes depending on your education, your sociocultural context and your age.
  25. Better to walk slowly than to trip and fall.
  26. Don’t take unnecessary risks.
  27. A problem must be divided into as many parts as possible, so that each part can be solved easier.
  28. First the simplest, then the most complex.
  29. The work should be revised as many times as necessary until you are sure that nothing has been omitted.
  30. A science can correct another science.
  31. Follow the advice that good people do not say with words, but with actions.
  32. Once you have decided on the goal and method, don’t drop the task until you succeed or fail.
  33. Better to change yourself than the world.
  34. We can only desire what we see as possible.
  35. We are only in full control of our thoughts and nothing else.
  36. Train your reason, to make it stronger and cunning.
  37. You don’t have to take the opinion of others as absolute.
  38. My ability to doubt is the only thing I can be always sure about, no matter the circumstance.
  39. Thought is the essence of human existence.
  40. If something is clear and distinct, you can take it for granted.
  41. The perfect forms (ideal triangle, ideal circle, ideal square …) do not exist in nature.
  42. Mathematical truths don’t lose their value.
  43. It’s not that our senses lie to us, it’s just that we misinterpret the information that comes from the senses.
  44. Some dreams are as clear as reality.
  45. Some bodily processes function automatically by their disposition and implicit energy, like machines.
  46. Circulation is the cause of body heat.
  47. If several objects tend to the same place, the fastest and strongest arrive first, pushing away the others if there is not enough room.
  48. The machine imitates human operations more perfectly than we do, but can only do a limited number of functions compared to us.
  49. The human body and human soul are mixed, although they are of a different nature.
  50. What we know about medicine is nothing compared to what we do not know.
  51. Even if your research has just a few, small findings, they are worth sharing.
  52. Don’t look for rare knowledge before mastering uncommon knowledge.
  53. Humans have the duty to be useful to others.
  54. Good lawyers don’t always make good judges.
  55. The followers of Aristotle do not dare to surpass him.
  56. A fanatic adept of an idea who challenges others to debate is like a blind man challenging someone with perfect sight to fight in the dark.
  57. You can’t rush to find truth.
  58. Start from the easiest and go ascending in complexity until you can no more, only then you can say that you have reached your limit.
  59. If you need help, it is still better to work alone than with someone who is unfit to help.
  60. I should not seek help if I do not deserve help.
  61. There is no need to be anonymous, but much recognition and fame make people pester you for more.
  62. If having a reputation is unavoidable, then try to have a good one.
  63. Let the reader judge whether your writing is good or not.
  64. Someone can use your writing as foundation for wrong conclusions.
  65. Write in your own language.

Publicado por Yure

Quando eu me formei, minha turma teve que fazer um juramento coletivo. Como minha religião não me permite jurar nem prometer, eu só mexi os lábios, mas resolvi viver com os objetivos do juramento em mente de qualquer forma.

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