Thursday, 29 May 2008
Dubium sapientiae initium, says Descartes: 'Doubt is the origin of wisdom' [Meditationes de prima philosophiae, 1641]. The implication seems clear enough; the business of the person in search of wisdom (the wisdom-lover, the sopho-phile) is to start in doubt and move beyond it. But doubt should be doubt enough to doubt this conclusion; that there could ever be a wisdom entirely purged of doubt. Descartes knew this, of course; and this apothegm deserves to be remembered, like the cogito ergo sum, as a deliberate hall-of-mirrors paradox.