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Date: 1641

"I am not that structure of limbs which is called a human body. I am not even some thin vapour which permeates the limbs - a wind, fire, air, breath, or whatever I depict in my imagination; for these are things which I have supposed to be nothing."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

"But I see what it is: my mind enjoys wandering off and will not yet submit to being restrained within the bounds of truth. Very well then; just this once let us give it a completely free rein, so that after a while, when it is time to tighten the reins, it may more readily submit to being curbed."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

"And whenever my preconceived belief in the supreme power of God comes to mind, I cannot but admit that it would be easy for him, if he so desired, to bring it about that I go wrong even in those matters which I think I see utterly clearly with my mind's eye."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

"Now admittedly, it is not necessary that I ever light upon any thought of God; but whenever I do choose to think of the first and supreme being, and bring forth the idea of God from the treasure house of my mind as it were, it is necessary that I attribute all perfections to him, even if I do no...

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

"As I have just used it, 'nature' is simply a label which depends on my thought; it is quite extraneous to the things to which it is applied, and depends simply on my comparison between the idea of a sick man and a badly-made clock, and the idea of a healthy man and a well-made clock."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

"Yet a clock constructed with wheels and weights observes all the laws of its nature just as closely when it is badly made and tells the wrong time as when it completely fulfils the wishes of the clockmaker. In the same way, I might consider the body of a man as a kind of machine equipped with an...

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

The mind may ebb and flow "like the Euripus with its violent tides"

— Caterus, Johannes [Johan de Kater]

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Date: 1641

A geometrical argument fills the mind and allows one to see everything at a single glance

— Mersenne, Marin (1588-1648)

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Date: 1641

A calm mind, free from the hurly-burly of external things, may fix its gaze on itself

— Arnauld, Antoine (1612-1694)

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Date: 1641

"But if the entire soul is something of this kind, why should you, who may be thought of as the noblest part of the soul, not be regarded as being, so to speak, the flower, or the most refined and pure and active part of it?"

— Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.