Rene Descartes A French Philosopher Mathematician and Scientist

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A great deal of this earlier thought was based on information gleaned from the senses. Descartes felt the only way to obtain true knowledge was to rely solely upon human reason while ignoring the senses. “His philosophy refused to accept the Aristotelian and Scholastic traditions that had dominated philosophical thought throughout the Medieval period. it attempted to fully integrate philosophy with the ‘new sciences’, and Descartes changed the relationship between philosophy and theology. Such new directions of philosophy made Descartes into a revolutionary figure” (Baillet 1693). For this, he is now known as the father of modern philosophy. Through this development in thought, he was also the founder of modern-day mathematics and provided the framework for the study of the natural sciences. He was instrumental in codifying the scientific method. In developing these ideas, Descartes wrote several books regarding the nature of existence and knowledge, providing us with plenty of material to study and has had a tremendous influence on those who have come after him. These books are typically divided into segments Descartes labels meditations. In these meditations, Descartes reflects upon the nature of the individual and determines that he does indeed exist as both a physical and a metaphysical being through a detailed consideration of the various elements that contribute to his awareness. Through statements such as ‘I am not lodged in my body like a pilot in a vessel’ and ‘I am not that set of limbs called the human body’, Descartes attempts to bridge the difference between the new sciences and the sensory perceptions of the old philosophy, introducing in the process a new way of thinking about thinking.In Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy (1989), Descartes states emphatically ‘I think, therefore I am.’ This simple-sounding statement is the result of a discourse in which Descartes calls into question all of the assumptions he’s come to know as a result of the philosophical thought of his day.