Rene Descartes Quotes (Author of Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy)
Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz. English version as given in John Veitch trans. And thereby make ourselves, as it were, the lords and masters of nature. Desmond M. Clarke, Penguin edition , Part 6,
Rene Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher was born in It was partly because of his contribution that western philosophy and mathematics flourished. He is also considered as precursor of rationalist school of thought. His main achievement was to bridge the gulf between algebra and geometry. Thus he is widely acclaimed as first mathematician who laid the foundation of modern geometry that resulted in development of analysis and calculus. With regard to algebra, he explained in detail that how algebric equations can be expressed and explained through use of geometrical shapes.
His most important contributions were in the field of mathematics, where he was the first to fuse algebra with geometry, single-handedly inventing the modern field of analytic geometry. This idea sparked the modern school of Rationalism. For generations, philosophers would be captivated by the idea of a perfectly rational system of thought, one with no room for doubt or error. It was a compelling idea. It was also a controversial idea, because it sought to dethrone what had been the center of truth in Europe for centuries: Christianity. Descartes was a Christian and made arguments for the existence of God, but his view was that God had to be the end of the argument , not the beginning.
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III. Descartes’ Ideas
Apart from other things, he wrote some of the most influential works of modern philosophy which are still studied in universities across the world. He also formulated theories, developed concepts and made statements which became fundamental to Western philosophy.
It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well. Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems. The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. Perfect numbers like perfect men are very rare.
He was extensively educated, first at a Jesuit college at age 8, then earning a law degree at 22, but an influential teacher set him on a course to apply mathematics and logic to understanding the natural world. He was the youngest of three children, and his mother, Jeanne Brochard, died within his first year of life. His father, Joachim, a council member in the provincial parliament, sent the children to live with their maternal grandmother, where they remained even after he remarried a few years later. So did spending the next four years earning a baccalaureate in law at the University of Poitiers. Some scholars speculate that he may have had a nervous breakdown during this time.