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Descartes – Thanks for offering but…

February 10, 2015

“It is true that, with respect to experiments that can help here, one man alone cannot suffice to do them all, but he cannot as profitably use hands other than his own, unless they be those of craftsmen, or of such people as he can pay and for whom the hope of gain (which is a very effective means) would make do precisely what he ordered them to do. For, as to volunteers, who, out of curiosity or a desire to learn, offer themselves in order perhaps to help him, aside from usually being high on promises and low on performance and from having grand ideas none of which will come to anything, they inevitably want to be paid by an explanation of various difficulties, or at least by compliments or by useless conversations which could not cost him so little of his time that it would not be a loss to him.”

(from Discourse on Method, Book Six [1637], translated by Donald A. Cress)

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