Re: extropians-digest V6 #1

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sun Jan 07 2001 - 08:28:04 MST

From: "Mihail Faina" <>
> I like Descartes "definition" - "Philosophy affords the means of
> discoursing with an appearance of truth on all matters and commands the
> admiration of
> the more simple".

That is a truly remarkable quotation, especially considering the source.
For the full text from which this is taken see:
                           by Rene Descartes
If this Discourse appear too long to be read at once, it may be divided
into six Parts: and, in the first, will be found various considerations
touching the Sciences; in the second, the principal rules of the Method
which the Author has discovered, in the third, certain of the rules of
Morals which he has deduced from this Method; in the fourth, the
reasonings by which he establishes the existence of God and of the Human
Soul, which are the foundations of his Metaphysic; in the fifth, the order
of the Physical questions which he has investigated, and, in particular,
the explication of the motion of the heart and of some other difficulties
pertaining to Medicine, as also the difference between the soul of man and
that of the brutes; and, in the last, what the Author believes to be
required in order to greater advancement in the investigation of Nature
than has yet been made, with the reasons that have induced him to write.
I still continued, however, to hold in esteem the studies of the schools.
I was aware that the languages taught in them are necessary to the
understanding of the writings of the ancients; that the grace of fable
stirs the mind; that the memorable deeds of history elevate it; and, if
read with discretion, aid in forming the judgment; that the perusal of all
excellent books is, as it were, to interview with the noblest men of past
ages, who have written them, and even a studied interview, in which are
discovered to us only their choicest thoughts; that eloquence has
incomparable force and beauty; that poesy has its ravishing graces and
delights; that in the mathematics there are many refined discoveries
eminently suited to gratify the inquisitive, as well as further all the
arts an lessen the labour of man; that numerous highly useful precepts and
exhortations to virtue are contained in treatises on morals; that theology
points out the path to heaven; that philosophy affords the means of
discoursing with an appearance of truth on all matters, and commands the
admiration of the more simple; that jurisprudence, medicine, and the other
sciences, secure for their cultivators honors and riches; and, in fine,
that it is useful to bestow some attention upon all, even upon those
abounding the most in superstition and error, that we may be in a position
to determine their real value, and guard against being deceived.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.
3M TA3

Useless hypotheses: consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind,
free will

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