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Wisdom, J.O. (1947). Three Dreams of Descartes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:11-18.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:11-18

Three Dreams of Descartes

J. O. Wisdom

Several moralists have recommended it as an excellent method of becoming acquainted with our own hearts, and knowing our progress in virtue, to recollect our dreams in a morning, and examine them with the same rigour, that we would our most serious and most deliberate actions. Our character is the same throughout, say they, and appears best where artifice, fear, and policy have no place, and men can neither be hypocrites with themselves nor others. The generosity, or baseness of our temper, our meekness or cruelty, our courage or pusillanimity, influence the fictions of the imagination with the most unbounded liberty, and discover themselves in the most glaring colours. In like manner, I am persuaded, there might be several useful discoveries made from a criticism of the fictions of the ancient philosophy, concerning substances, and substantial forms, and accidents, and occult qualities; which, however unreasonable and capricious, have a very intimate connexion with the principles of human nature.—David Hume.

On November 10, 1619, Descartes finally arrived at the essence of his discoveries about Method. This he expounded in different forms in the Rules and in the Discourse on Method; he applied it to philosophy in the Meditations and the Principles, in which work he also applied it to mathematics. Due to his research he fell into a state of 'enthusiasm' and suffered from violent disturbances.

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