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Date: w. c. 1425-1440

"Then wolle the chambir of my thought trewly / Of plesaunce take a light in eche parté / Such ioy wolle him aray so fresshe and hy / That waken must myn heuy hert slepé / Out of his fowle and sluggissh slogardé."

— Charles [d'Orléans], duke of Orléans (1394–1465)

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Date: 1644, 1647

"But the fact that we feel a pain as it were in our foot does not make it certain that the pain exists outside our mind, in the foot, any more than the fact that we see light as it were in the sun, makes it certain the light exists outside us, in the sun."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1665

"Discernment is simply a great light of the intellect which shines into the roots of things, sees everything worth noticing, and perceives things thought to be imperceptible."

— La Rochefoucauld, François, duc de (1613-1680)

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Date: w. 1628; published 1684 [Dutch], 1701 [Latin]

"Even though problems such as these can often be solved without a method and can sometimes perhaps be solved more quickly through good luck than through method, nevertheless they might dim the light of the mind and make it become so habituated to childish and futile pursuits that thereafter it wo...

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: w. 1628; published 1684 [Dutch], 1701 [Latin]

"So the same light of the mind which enabled them to see (albeit without knowing why) that virtue is preferable to pleasure, the good preferable to the useful, also enabled them to grasp true ideas in philosophy and mathematics, although they were not yet able fully to master such sciences"

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1748, 1749

"I always use the word imagine, because I am of the opinion that everything is imagined, and that all the parts of the soul may be justly reduced to the imagination only, which forms them all; and thus the judgment, reason, and memory are not absolute faculties of the soul, but real modifications...

— Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751)

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Date: 1748, 1749

"Have we one argument of this sort to convince us that man alone is enlighten'd with the rays of reason, from which all other creatures are excluded?"

— Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751)

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Date: 1762

"Consultons la lumière intérieure, elle m’égarera moins qu’ils ne m’égarent, ou, du moins, mon erreur sera la mienne, et je me dépraverai moins en suivant mes propres illusions qu’en me livrant à leurs mensonges."

— Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)

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Date: 1762

"Si les premières lueurs du jugement nous éblouissent et confondent d’abord les objets à nos regards, attendons que nos faibles yeux se rouvrent, se raffermissent; & bientôt nous reverrons ces mêmes objets aux lumières de la raison, tels que nous les montroit d’abord la nature."

— Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)

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Date: 1762

"Combattu sans cesse par mes sentiments naturels qui parloient pour l’intérêt commun, & par ma raison qui rapportoit tout à moi, j’aurois flotté toute ma vie dans cette continuelle alternative, faisant le mal, aimant le bien, & toujours contraire à moi-même, si de nouvelles lumières n’eussent écl...

— Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)

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