Opera Omnia volume VI, 1
Ludovic Dutens (ed)
p 319

Date: 1684 - 1698 (?)

Translated from the Latin

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[D VI 1, p319]

Descartes, book 2, letter 92, p415.1 He admits that there is no method of discerning which proposition should be taken for a principle except that prejudgements should be rejected, that is, that all things should be rejected about which there can be doubt.2 But he does not identify those about which there can be doubt.


1. Leibniz is referring to Lettres de M. Descartes, où sont expliquées plusieurs belles difficultez touchant ses autres ouvrages. Tome second, ed. Claude Clerselier (Paris: Charles Angot, 1666), 415, which contains Descartes' letter to Mersenne of 15 November 1638.
2. "I know of no other way of making sound judgements about the notions which can be taken for principles, except that we must prepare our mind to divest itself of all the views with which it is preoccupied, and to reject as doubtful everything that might be doubtful." Descartes to Mersenne, 15 November 1638, in René Descartes, The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Volume III, eds. and trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoof, Dugald Murdoch, and Anthony Kenny (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 129.

© Lloyd Strickland 2018