when once adopted, than if they had been highly certain

zorspas

Senior Member
Turkish in lieu of Zazakî
Hi all.

My second maxim was to be as firm and resolute in my actions as I was able, and not to adhere less steadfastly to the most doubtful opinions, when once adopted, than if they had been highly certain;
(full text : http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/59)

Okay, there are two commas and two subclauses in this paragraph. Those are making me not to understand the meaning exactly. Can someone explain me this paragraph? Thanks a lot.


 
  • Momerath

    Senior Member
    British English
    Perhaps it's clearer if you express the idea without using "not less". He means he would adhere steadfastly to all his opinions equally, both the "most doubtful" ones (once he had adopted them) and the "highly certain" ones. In other words, he would be just as committed to the more dubious ones as to the others and pursue their implications resolutely. (Isn't this Descartes?)
     
    Last edited:

    JoanTaber

    Senior Member
    English Northeast USA
    All the subclauses and commas in the world couldn't put this sentence back together again. But, here's my attempt:

    "My second maxim was to be as firm and resolute as possible in my actions. For this reason, I resolved to give equal consideration to all my opinions--to those I had formed easily and to those I had initially doubted."
     

    Momerath

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is Descartes (Discours de la Méthode - Discours 3. The Penguin version translates this passage as follows:
    "My second maxim was to be as firm and resolute in my actions as I could, and to follow no less constantly the most doubtful opinions, once I had determined on them, than I would if they were very assured ...".
     

    zorspas

    Senior Member
    Turkish in lieu of Zazakî
    It is Descartes (Discours de la Méthode - Discours 3. The Penguin version translates this passage as follows:
    "My second maxim was to be as firm and resolute in my actions as I could, and to follow no less constantly the most doubtful opinions, once I had determined on them, than I would if they were very assured ...".
    This one is better. The one that I provided is hard to understand for me. I read lots of times to get the meaning. I don't like this situation in English, dividing a sentence with commas and saying something between those commas.

    Thanks a lot for your help:)
     
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