【英語要約】仕事に使えるデカルト思考 「武器としての哲学」が身につく


It's been a long time now that philosophy books are lined up on bookshelves of business books. While various thoughts are being introduced, some readers may still find it difficult to read philosophy books. In this context, this book is a book in which an author who specializes in pedagogy explains Descartes' thought, which is a "master of thoughts" and is a very readable style.

Famous for "I think, therefore I am", Descartes is a French philosopher born in 1596. A person who lived more than 400 years ago and before the Industrial Revolution, his thoughts are essential enough for the modern business person. While emphasizing reason, this book also introduces how to utilize the good aspects of emotions that emerge in various ways. In today's world where people often get lost or shaken in their lives, Descartes learns very much from the way of thinking that he was able to escape from anxiety and regret.

According to the author, philosophy is meaningless unless practiced. There is no doubt that it is more important to be able to use that thought in the work scene than to know Descartes' figure. In practice, this book summarizes Cartesian thinking as "four rules" and "three criteria." After reading all at once, I highly recommend that you jump out into the "Big Book of the World" and put that thought into practice, as Descartes did.

Main points of this book

Point 1

Descartes emphasized the importance of "the power of reason." Thinking that all the origins are in "thinking me" and having a viewpoint to observe oneself calmly, a person becomes immobile.

Point 2

Training is indispensable to develop the power of reason. Especially reading can learn both words and reason through the thoughts of the author. If you learn from your predecessors, you can build new results on top of those results and change your way of thinking to the better.

Point 3

The passion itself, which is the opposite of reason, is not bad. It is important to control bad emotions, as emotions can strengthen thoughts.

Know Cartesian

Descartes preaching the secret of thought

Descartes is a French-born philosopher and mathematician. Descartes emphasized the importance of "the power of reason" as the power to organize and solve one by one. In his book "Introduction to the Method," he wrote as follows. "I set out on a journey, experimented with thoughts, and reached a point, so I was able to escape my anxiety and regrets for the rest of my life." Descartes's book, which gives detailed explanations of the reasons and methods to reach this state, can be said to be "a book of thoughts". If you get to know this Cartesian way of thinking, your vision should be clear. You can control your emotions and make quick and appropriate business decisions.

Acquire philosophy as a skill

Learning philosophy changes the way we look at things and our spirit. This is because the essence of philosophy lies in "ask". In the ancient Greek era before BC, philosophers such as Socrates and Plato asked essential questions such as what is the root of what established themselves and what is the origin of the world. Such questions deepen my thoughts. On the other hand, the attitudes of “making money” and “having effects for the time being” are superficial. Even if it works for a while, it is doubtful whether it will contribute to the business scene in the future. The authors also say that there is a lack of philosophical attitude to procrastinate decisions or make decisions without solid grounds.

Philosophy is a science that asks us how to live, so it is important not only to know its contents, but also to practice it. For example, it does not make much sense to explain Existentialism. By living by using existentialism, even when you are placed in an absurd situation, you can think positively that "your future can be changed by your choice."

In this way, Cartesian thinking is also useful for overcoming the "somewhat anxious" mental state of modern people. This is because it helps you to think in a way that you can't organize your thoughts and go around without anxiety. You can cultivate logical thinking and judgment by Descartes's "Introduction to Method," and emotional control by "Passion theory." The essence of Cartesian thinking for learning, understanding and practicing the power of reason is explained below.

[Must read point!] The power of reason

The origin is "Thinking I"

Descartes states in his "Introduction to the Method" that "decency is the most equitable division of the world." Good sense refers to the ability to judge truth, and is synonymous with reason. We all have this, but we are divided because we are on different paths. This means that having reason is not enough and we should use it properly.

One of Descartes' famous words is "I think, therefore I am." When I doubted the existence of God, which was obvious in Europe at that time, I certainly existed, so Descartes put "thinking me" as the first principle. When you acquire this "thinking I" spirit, you will feel that you are right here when you are trying to judge and act. This first principle helps us to judge and act when our will and determination fluctuate. Even if you fall into a difficult situation such as a restructuring, by observing yourself calmly and having a viewpoint from the outside, humans are immobile.

Machines and humans, animals and humans

Descartes discusses machines in the Method Introduction. Recently, the reading ability of AI is improving. The author states that humans also need to flexibly change their own ways as the AI ​​evolves. AI has a high contextual power to recommend information by combining information about the other party's hobbies and preferences. In addition to that, I am trying to acquire reading comprehension. Machines are stepping into an area where Descartes once said, "I don't think machines can do it." On the human side as well, in addition to communicating with various people in real life, reading can improve the context and reading comprehension.

According to Descartes, the big difference between humans and animals is vocabulary, word arrangement, and expression using words. The practice of reading and writing helps control the mind. Reading and writing are effective in training reason. Moreover, in reading, you can learn the power of the author's reason as it is through words, so you can train both reason and language at the same time. Reading good books and learning from past people is our blood and flesh.

After spending his life covered in books, Descartes traveled to Europe for several years in order to learn from the "large book of the world." Descartes argues that on a journey, so many truths can be found. In order for us in the present age to gain insights from travel destinations, it is necessary for us to become more conscious and conscious and actively engage with various people and gain experience. It's not limited to travel, but if you try to take notes and make your mind clearer, you may come up with a good idea when traveling.

Attitude to learn from ancestor

British scientist Newton wrote, "If I could look beyond, it was all on the shoulders of the giants." This means building new achievements of ourselves on top of the achievements of our predecessors. Thanks to Newton, we can all harness the power of our predecessors, as Einstein's achievements of the later years would have. Even in work and education, if you study with the momentum to completely copy the achievements of your predecessors, you will be able to raise your standard significantly. To learn is to know what you don't know. You can discover new discoveries by learning independently. This will open up your thoughts and help you change to the better.

Descartes' finding of "new truth" can be translated into finding "new ideas and ideas." Those who are mindful of it can gain trust in their work. Rugby's Japanese national team, Scrum, wasn't pushed down because of the research done by Shin Hasegawa, who was appointed as a coach. The coaches' habits and ability to find new truths' might have helped the players learn from it, and as a result, they could have made a big success in the 2019 World Cup.

How to organize thoughts

Four rules

Cartesian thinking is organized into four rules. If you learn and practice this well, you will be able to properly face information, improve your work, and improve your work.

The first is the "rule of clarification". It means not accepting anything other than the things that can be proved by clearly showing the grounds and evidence. Although prompt decision itself is not a bad thing, it means avoiding unwise judgments. In the era of SNS, everyone is required to have a voice and at the same time be responsible for their voice. When importing information, it is essential to individually judge whether good things are good or bad things are bad.

The second rule is called the "rule of analysis". To understand the difficult problem, it is easy to solve it by breaking it down into small pieces. If you're the leader of a big job, break it down into smaller themes such as A, B, and C so it's easier to see what you need to do. In that way, it is good to allocate the divided work to each person in charge.

The third is a way of thinking called "general rules." When working on a thing, it refers to starting from the simple and easy-to-understand to the complicated one in order, so it can be paraphrased as setup. Not only do these rules keep things running smoothly, but they are also good at giving work instructions. For example, when teaching newcomers, starting with simple and important habits such as greetings makes it easy for each other to confirm the steps that they have taken.

The last is the “rule of enumeration”. Finally, enumerate all and reconsider if there are any oversights. To be sure that you haven't overlooked anything, it's useful to go through them one by one, using check boxes. I would like to get in the habit of checking like a "review" 5 minutes before the end of the test.

Three action standards

Next, let's look at three standards of conduct that help Cartesian thinking.

Descartes recommends following convention as the first standard. As long as you follow the common practice of practice, you will rarely be criticized. However, customs change with the times and regions. Keeping in mind that there are customs to change, it is also important to respect them. In addition, Descartes recommends that you take moderate and moderate opinions and actions so that you do not lose your judgment.

The second criterion is deliberation. Descartes seeks certainty by eliminating suspicions, but consistently follows it once it decides to do so. That being said, we often feel uneasy and regret or change our decisions. If you continue doing this, you will not get results. Once decided, it is important to be prepared to handle it.

As a third criterion, Descartes recognizes that only one's way of thinking can be changed. It means to think separately about what you can control and what you cannot control. It is important not to try to force things that you cannot control. He also states that one's judgment is everything and that one doesn't have to bother or hesitate for talent.

Control of reason and emotion


Up to this point, I have seen "Introduction to the Method", but at the end, let me introduce some hints from "The Passion.

We regard emotions as "feelings" that pair with reason. Descartes does not say that the passion itself is bad. Reduces bad feelings such as anger and resentment and increases joy and enjoyment. Descartes teaches that such stress management can be achieved by reason. Passion amplifies both negative and positive thoughts. The author says that emotional control is possible by reading, reading aloud, or writing a sentence, even for people who are prone to negative emotions and weak in spirit and reason.

Descartes also asserted that hatred and sadness were always harmful. There is competition in work as well, but competition with hate cannot be good. As the author himself gained experience, he seemed to be able to control the bad feelings towards others by establishing a rule that "the one who does not refuse, the one who leaves is not followed". In addition, it is important for one's will to be freely decided by oneself, and it is important that other people have this free will as well. And it's important that you don't be humble or arrogant to anyone.

In this way, I want to be able to manipulate my emotions skillfully and bring out joy.

Recommendation of reading

Although this book is an explanation of Cartesian philosophy, it is written in a very clear and easy-to-understand style. The image is easy to read as there are many parables about business scenes. As the author recommends, it may be interesting to read the memorable "Introduction to Methodology" or "Theory of Passion" aloud.