René Descartes in his influential book Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences
, [Descartes, René. Discourse on the method of rightly conducting the reason and seeking truth in the sciences
[S.l.]: Project Gutenberg Association, 1993], in part, addresses some
of the fundamental ways of applying an early formulation of the
scientific method. Those who attempt to do genealogical research could
well implement some of his methods.
I was early introduced to to Cartesian thought through the study of
linguistics. A book influential in my intellectual development, at the
time, was Chomsky, Noam. Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought
. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.
Descartes was the originator of what has been termed, "Cartesian Doubt."
It is not my intention to apply this in a philosophical sense, but more
in the classic scientific methodological sense, that is, to doubt,
automatically all knowledge and thereby ascertain what cannot be
doubted. Application of this method to genealogy starts with only
accepting as proven those facts that are beyond doubt or to put the
concept into a legal terminology, accepting those facts that are proven
beyond a reasonable doubt.Read more...