Tag Archives: Philosophy

1649: Descartes’s Wooden Daughter

When Descartes resided in Holland, with great labour and industry he made a female Automaton—which occasioned some wicked wits to publish that he had an illegitimate daughter, named Franchine—to prove demonstratively that beasts have no souls, and that they are … Continue reading

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2nd Century BC: The Best Leaders Are Barely Noticed

太上,下知有之;其次,親而譽之;其次,畏之;其次,侮之。信不足,焉有不信焉。悠兮,其貴言。功成事遂,百姓皆謂我自然。 The best leaders are barely noticed. The next best are admired and praised. Poor leaders use coercion and fear, and the worst are despised. If leaders do not follow the Tao, how can the people? The wisest leaders will … Continue reading

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1494: The Poisoning of Pico della Mirandola

     The brilliant and audacious Humanist philosopher Pico della Mirandola died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 31. His life had been exceptional. A child prodigy who had left home at fourteen to study church law, Pico turned to … Continue reading

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1653: She Cursed and Swore like a Musketeer

Christina, the Queen of Sweden from 1632 to 1654, famously rejected traditional gender roles, often wearing men’s clothing and excelling at traditionally masculine pursuits. She was also one of the most educated women of the Renaissance, had a mischievous sense … Continue reading

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