50 René Descartes Quotes from the French Philosopher

René Descartes, born March 31, 1596, was a pioneering French mathematician, scientist and philosopher known for his significant contributions to diverse fields.

Raised in a modestly noble Roman Catholic family, Descartes was primarily brought up by his maternal grandmother and great-uncle following his mother’s early demise.

He received a Jesuit college education and later earned a law degree.

René Descartes

Descartes is renowned for developing the modern version of mind-body dualism, deviating from Scholastic Aristotelianism and his famous assertion “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”).

His life in Paris was filled with courtly pursuits like gambling, fencing and theatre.

Related: Simone de Beauvoir Quotes from the French Philosopher and Peter Kropotkin Quotes from the Russian Philosopher

A single father, he had a daughter named Francine. His works, which were subsequently added to the Index of Prohibited Books by Pope Innocent XI, include monumental writings like “Meditations on First Philosophy” and “Discourse on the Method.”

Descartes also made substantial contributions to mathematics, creating analytic geometry and physics, formulating laws of motion and a theory of vortices.

Below is a great collection of the quotes from René Descartes.

Best René Descartes Quotes

1. “Doubt is the origin of wisdom.” ~ (René Descartes).


2. “I think therefore am.” ~ (René Descartes).

3. “You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.” ~ (René Descartes).

4. “Conquer yourself rather than the world.” ~ (René Descartes).

5. “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.” ~ (René Descartes).

6. “Mathematics is a more powerful instrument of knowledge than any other that has been bequeathed to us by human agency.” ~ (René Descartes).

7. “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” ~ (René Descartes).

8. “We do not describe the world we see, we see the world we can describe.” ~ (René Descartes).

9. “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.” ~ (René Descartes).

10. “De omnibus dubitandum.” ~ (René Descartes).

11. “I can doubt everything, except one thing, and that is the very fact that I doubt. Simply put – I think, therefore I am.” ~ (René Descartes).


12. “Nothing comes out of nothing.” ~ (René Descartes).

13. “Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.” ~ (René Descartes).

Top René Descartes Quotes

14. “The only thing that I know, is that I know nothing.” ~ (René Descartes).

15. “Science is practical philosophy.” ~ (René Descartes).

16. “Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.” ~ (René Descartes).

17. “All is to be doubted.” ~ (René Descartes).

18. “To know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say.” ~ (René Descartes).

19. “Wonder is the first of all the passions.” ~ (René Descartes).

20. “Any community that gets its laughs by pretending to be idiots will eventually be flooded by actual idiots who mistakenly believe that they’re in good company.” ~ (René Descartes).

21. “He who hid well, lived well.” ~ (René Descartes).

22. “The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts.” ~ (René Descartes).

Famous René Descartes Quotes

23. “It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false.” ~ (René Descartes).

24. “An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?” ~ (René Descartes).

25. “I know that I exist; the question is, What is this ‘I’ that ‘I’ know.” ~ (René Descartes).


26. “With me, everything turns into mathematics.” ~ (René Descartes).

27. “Intuition is the undoubting conception of a pure and attentive mind, which arises from the light of reason alone, and is more certain than deduction.” ~ (René Descartes).

28. “Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems.” ~ (René Descartes).

29. “Masked, I advance.” ~ (René Descartes).

30. “The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once.” ~ (René Descartes).

31. “Everything is self-evident.” ~ (René Descartes).

32. “How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?” ~ (René Descartes).

33. “But in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.” ~ (René Descartes).

34. “He lives well who is well hidden.” ~ (René Descartes).

35. “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.” ~ (René Descartes).

36. “Reason is nothing without imagination.” ~ (René Descartes).

37. “I have concluded the evident existence of God, and that my existence depends entirely on God in all the moments of my life, that I do not think that the human spirit may know anything with greater evidence and certitude.” ~ (René Descartes).

38. “The chief cause of human errors is to be found in the prejudices picked up in childhood.” ~ (René Descartes).

39. “In God there is an infinitude of things which I cannot comprehend, nor possibly even reach in any way by thought; for it is the nature of the infinite that my nature, which is finite and limited, should not comprehend it.” ~ (René Descartes).

Inspiring René Descartes Quotes

40. “When I consider this carefully, I find not a single property which with certainty separates the waking state from the dream. How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?” ~ (René Descartes).

41. “Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.” ~ (René Descartes).

42. “To live without philosophizing is in truth the same as keeping the eyes closed without attempting to open them.” ~ (René Descartes).

43. “Intuitive knowledge is an illumination of the soul, whereby it beholds in the light of God those things which it pleases Him to reveal to us by a direct impression of divine clearness.” ~ (Rene Descartes).

44. “I desire to live in peace and to continue the life I have begun under the motto ’to live well you must live unseen.” ~ (Rene Descartes).


45. “In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate.” ~ (René Descartes).

46. “Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow.” ~ (René Descartes).

47. “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the self-same well from which your laughter rises was often-times filled with your tears.” ~ (René Descartes).

48. “A state is better governed which has few laws, and those laws strictly observed.” ~ (René Descartes).

49. “Few look for truth; many prowl about for a reputation of profundity by arrogantly challenging whichever arguments are the best.” ~ (René Descartes).

50. “The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues.” ~ (René Descartes).

You Might Like

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar