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Descartes 1596-1650 Copernicus 1473-1543 Galileo 1564-1642 Prosecution by Roman Inquisition, 1633 Descartes's Method of Doubt. Knowledge is defined by its irrefutable certainty. Therefore, press doubt as far as it can be, and anything that is discovered to be indubitable must be counted as knowledge. Knowledge: requires certainty; a clear, distinct, irrefutable judgment. The senses are uncertain (evidence of dreams and illusions) Reasoning can be doubted (the argument about God and the possibility of error) The ―Cogito‖— the thought ―I am, I exist‖ cannot be false whenever one thinks it. ―Cogito ergo sum‖—why is this significant? 1. Proves that knowledge is possible in principle 2. Provides a test or criterion of truth. A clear and distinct idea (like the Cogito) is true. Mind (soul, thought, consciousness) is an immaterial substance whose essence it is to think (a res cogitans, a thinking thing). Essence of matter is spatial extension, determinate spatial measure. Implications of this concept of the essence of matter: 1. Primary and Secondary Qualities Primary: qualities all bodies share just as bodies: shape, size, weight, and so on. Secondary: Qualities arising from interaction with perception: color, taste, odor, and so on. 2. Plenum. The universe is one continuous body. No empty space. 3. Inert matter. Motion is not a primary quality of matter. Motion occurs only by impact. 4. Mind-Body problem. How do the two essentially different substances (mind as immaterial, body as spatial) interact ené Descartes ( French:[ʁəne dekaʁt]; Latinized form: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: "Cartesian";[6]31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings,[7][8which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes' influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system — allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two-dimensional coordinate system (and conversely, shapes to be described as equations) — was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution and has been described as an example of genius. Descartes frequently sets his views apart from those of his predecessors. In the opening section of the Passions of the Soul, a treatise on the Early Modern version of what are now commonly called emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before". Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like St. Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differs from the schools on two major points: First, he rejects the analysis of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejects any appeal to ends—divine or natural—in explaining natural phenomena. [9]In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation. Descartes was a major figure in 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well. He is perhaps best known for the philosophical statement "Cogito ergo sum" (French: Je pense, donc je suis; English: I think, therefore I am), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637 – written in French but with inclusion of "Cogito ergo sum") and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644 – written in Latin). Contents  1 Biography o 1.1 Religious beliefs  2 Philosophical work o 2.1 Dualism o 2.2 Descartes' moral philosophy  3 Historical impact o 3.1 Emancipation from Church doctrine o 3.2 Mathematical legacy o 3.3 Contemporary reception  4 Writings  5 See also  6 Notes  7 Bibliography o 7.1 References o 7.2 Collected works o 7.3 Collected English translations o 7.4 Single works o 7.5 Secondary literature  8 External links Biography Graduation registry for Descartes at the Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand, La Flèche, 1616 Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes), Indre-et-Loire, France. When he was one year old, his mother Jeanne Brochard died. His father Joachim was a member of the Parlement of Brittany at Rennes. [10]In 1606 or 1607 he entered the Jesuit Collège Royal Henry- Le-Grand at La Flèche [11where he was introduced to mathematics and physics, including [12] Galileo's work. After graduation in December 1616, he studied at the University of Poitiers, earning a Baccalauréat and Licence in law, in accordance with his father's wishes that he should become a lawyer. [13] "I entirely abandoned the study of letters. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences, testing myself in the situations which fortune offered me, and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it." (Descartes, Discourse on the Method). In 1618, Descartes was engaged in the army of Maurice of Nassau in the Dutch Republic, but as a truce had been established between Holland and Spain, Descartes used his spare time to study [14] mathematics. In this way he became acquainted with Isaac Beeckman, principal of Dordrecht school. Beeckman had proposed a difficult mathematical problem, and to his astonishment, it was the young Descartes who found the solution. Both believed that it was necessary to create a method that thoroughly linked mathematics and physics. [15]While in the service of the Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, Descartes was present at the Battle of the White Mountain outside [16] Prague, in November 1620. On the night of 10–11 November 1619, while stationed in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany, Descartes experienced a series of three powerful dreams or visions that he later claimed profoundly influenced his life. He concluded from these visions that the pursuit of science would [17] prove to be, for him, the pursuit of true wisdom and a central part of his life's work. Descartes also saw very clearly that all truths were linked with one another, so that finding a fundamental truth and proceeding with logic would open the way to all science. This basic truth, Descartes found quite soon: his famous "I think". [15] In 1622 he returned to France, and during the next few years spent time in Paris and other parts of Europe. It was during a stay in Paris that he composed his first essay on method: Regulae ad Directionem Ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind). [15]He arrived in La Haye in 1623, selling all of his property to invest in bonds, which provided a comfortable income for the rest of his life. Descartes was present at the siege of La Rochelle by Cardinal Richelieu in 1627. He returned to the Dutch Republic in 1628, where he lived until September 1649. In April 1629 he joined the University of Franeker, living at the Sjaerdemaslot, and the next year, under the name "Poitevin", he enrolled at the Leiden University to study mathematics with Jacob Golius [18] and astronomy with Martin Hortensius. In October 1630 he had a falling-out with Beeckman, whom he accused of plagiarizing some of his ideas. In Amsterdam, he had a relationship with a servant girl, Helena Jans van der Strom, with whom he had a daughter, Francine, who was born in 1635 in Deventer, at which time Descartes taught at the Utrecht University. Francine Descartes died in 1640 in Amersfoort, from Scarlet Fever. While in the Netherlands he changed his address frequently, living among other places in Dordrecht (1628), Franeker (1629), Amsterdam (1629–30), Leiden (1630), Amsterdam (1630– 32), Deventer (1632–34), Amsterdam (1634–35), Utrecht (1635–36), Leiden (1636), Egmond (1636–38), Santpoort (1638–1640), Leiden (1640–41), Endegeest (a castle near Oegstgeest) (1641–43), and finally for an extended time in Egmond-Binnen (1643–49). Despite these frequent moves he wrote all his major work during his 20-plus years in the Netherlands, where he managed to revolutionize mathematics and philosophy. In 1633, Galileo was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, and Descartes abandoned plans to publish Treatise on the World, his work of the previous four years. Nevertheless, in 1637 he published part of this work in three essays: Les Météores (The Meteors), La Dioptrique (Dioptrics) and La Géométrie (Geometry), preceded by an introduction, his famous Discours de la Métode (Discourse on the Method). In it Descartes lays out four rules of thought, meant to ensure that our knowledge rests upon a firm foundation. René Descartes (right) with Queen Christina of Sweden (left). Descartes continued to publish works concerning both mathematics and philosophy for the rest of his life. In 1641 he published a metaphysics work, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy), written in Latin and thus addressed to the learned. It was followed, in 1644, by Principia Philosophiæ (Principles of Philosophy), a kind of synthesis of the Meditations and the Discourse. In 1643, Cartesian philosophy was condemned at the University of Utrecht, and Descartes began his long correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, devoted mainly to moral and psychological subjects. Connected with this correspondence, in 1649 he published Les Passions de l'âme (Passions of the Soul), that he dedicated to the Princess. In 1647, he was awarded a pension by the King of France. Descartes was interviewed by Frans Burman at Egmond-Binnen in 1648. A French translation of Principia Philosophiæ, prepared by Abbot Claude Picot, was published in 1647. This edition Descartes dedicated to Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. In the preface Descartes praised true philosophy as a means to attain wisdom. He identifies four ordinary sources to reach wisdom, and finally says that there is a fifth, better and more secure, consisting in the search for first causes.19] René Descartes died on 11 February 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he had been invited as a tutor for Queen Christina of Sweden. The cause of death was said to be pneumonia; accustomed to working in bed until noon, he may have suffered damage to his health from Christina's demands for early morning study (the lack of sleep could have severely compromised his immune system). Descartes stayed at the French ambassador Pierre Chanut. In 1663, the Pope placed his works on the Index of Prohibited Books. The tomb of Descartes (middle, with detail of the inscription), in the Abbey of Saint-Germain- des-Prés, Paris As a Roman Catholic in a Protestant nation, he was interred in a graveyard used mainly for unbaptized infants in Adolf Fredriks kyrka in Stockholm. Later, his remains were taken to France and buried in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. Although the National Convention in 1792 had planned to transfer his remains to the Panthéon, they are, two centuries later, still resting between two other graves — those of the scholarly monks Jean Mabillon and Bernard de Montfaucon — in a chapel of the abbey. His memorial, erected in the 18th century, remains in the Swedish church. Religious beliefs The religious beliefs of René Descartes have been rigorously debated within scholarly circles. He claimed to be a devout Roman Catholic, claiming that one of the purposes of the Meditations was to defend the Christian faith. However, in his own era, Descartes was accused of harboring secret deist or atheist beliefs. Contemporary Blaise Pascal said that "I cannot forgive Descartes; in all his philosophy, Descartes did his best to dispense with God. But Descartes could not avoid prodding God to set [20]world in motion with a snap of his lordly fingers; after that, he had no more use for God." Stephen Gaukroger's biography of Descartes reports that "he had a deep religious faith as a Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover [21] the truth." After Descartes died in Sweden, Queen Christina abdicated her throne to convert to Roman Catholicism (Swedish law required a Protestant ruler). The only Roman Catholic with whom she had prolonged contact was Descartes, who was her personal tutor. [22] Philosophical work Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to emphasize the use of reason to develop the [23
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