The maxim “Determine the meaning of words, and you will
save the world from half of its delusions” is given in the draft of Pushkin’s article “Review of Reviews” (1831) with a reference to Descartes. However, in this form it belongs to Pushkin himself. Somewhat similar ideas can be found in Descartes’ “Rules for the Guidance of the Mind” (c. 1628–1629), a letter to M. Mersenne (1629) and “Discourse on Method” (1637). However, Pushkin
apparently used a secondary source. Such a source could be Helvetius’ treatise “On the Mind” (1758).
linguistics; scientific terminology; A.S. Pushkin; R. Descartes; C.-A. Helvetius.
Dushenko, K.V. “‘Determine the meaning of words…’: on the sources of Pushkin’s maxim”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 4(58), 2022, pp. 169–175.