René Descartes (1596-1650)
● Scholar from France
● Invented analytic geometry
● Made some important discoveries in optics.
● At the time, was a major physicist. His work was largely rejected by the religious
○ He moved to the Netherlands, which was more protestant and liberal, for this
● Invited by Queen Christina of Sweden to give her philosophy lessons at 5am daily, then
Descartes came down with an illness and died.
● Descartes complained much about school, especially philosophy, because there seemed to
be so much disagreement and no concrete answer.
● His favorite subject was math, and he paid attention to how the mathematicians followed
through with their system.
○ Proofs used often; series of statements leading to theorem.
○ Not much disagreement.
Advantages of the Model
● Certainty: beliefs can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
● Systematicity: all proven beliefs are connected in a systematic way through proofs.
● Cumulativity: the systems can be constructed instrumentally over time by adding various
1) Do not accept any beliefs as true if its truth is in any way doubtful-- that is, only accept
beliefs that are self-evidently or provably true.
2) Divide problems into subproblems for easier solutions.
3) Start with th