Friday, July 26, 2013

The four precepts by Rene Descartes

Descartes seeks to ascertain the true method by which to arrive at the knowledge of whatever lay within the compass of his powers; he presents four precepts:

His four precepts are summarized next:

1. Accept only that which you are sure of
2. divide into as small parts as necessary
3. solve the simplest problem first
4. make a complete list as possible

Precepts further explained below:

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.

Read more at wikipedia

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