Rene Descartes

Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences

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    The first 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 judgement than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.

    The second, 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, 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 sequence.

    And the last, in every case to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so general, that I might be assured that nothing was omitted.
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    Thus it is observable that the buildings which a single architect has planned and executed, are generally more elegant and commodious than those which several have attempted to improve
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    For I found myself involved in so many doubts and errors, that I was convinced I had advanced no farther in all my attempts at learning, than the discovery at every turn of my own ignorance.

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