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There is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another. Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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There is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
excaelis
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 10:37:37 AM

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There is nothing neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so. WS, Hamlet.

Sanity is not statistical
Hupomone
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 10:48:02 AM
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New thoughts happen. Otherwise, invention and progress wouldn't.
uuaschbaer
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 10:51:58 AM

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Hah! Life before Einstein.

'Well, that is his loss, not mine,' answered the Rocket. 'I am not going to stop talking to him merely because he pays no attention. I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.'

'Then you should certainly lecture on Philosophy,' said the Dragonfly ...


- Oscar Wilde, The Remarkable Rocket

But Descartes, of course, was rather a more exact thinker.

*
excaelis
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 10:53:39 AM

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Do you think there are that many new thoughts, or are most philosophers rather re-stating and re-examining what is already out there in less formalised modes ? ( insert obligatory Monty Python link here...)

Sanity is not statistical
Verbatim
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 4:39:07 PM
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Daemon wrote:
There is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)


The quotation originates from Descartes' "Le Discourse de la Methode".
In Part 2 of his Method, Descartes elaborates on his intent to examine diversity and maintain an open mind. Here is the larger context:

"But I had been taught, even in my college days, that there is nothing imaginable so strange or so little credible that it has not been maintained by one philosopher or other, and I further recognized in the course of my travels that all those whose sentiments are very contrary to ours are yet not necessarily barbarians or savages, but may be possessed of reason in as great or even a greater degree than ourselves."

A little different than the subject quote, and I have seen at least another (translation).
At any rate, Descartes had meant the emphasis on "so strange and so little credible". Some students of Descartes think that he was critical of the strange views of his contemporaries -- many of whom were non-believers.
However, he was not conveying the idea that there had been nothing new to be found in science and philosophy, as he set out to define his Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason.
Quite the contrary, as can be seen from the excerpt I found in "Key Philosophical Writings", Descartes, Wordsworth Editions, 1997.

Interestingly, in Part 1, Descartes wasted no time but said this within his first few paragraphs: "For to be possessed of good mental powers is not sufficient; the principal matter is to apply them well". Thus the Method was required, and he delivered it brilliantly.





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