Rene Descartes

Topics: René Descartes, Metaphysics, Mind, Soul, Philosophy / Pages: 6 (1300 words) / Published: May 7th, 2006
Rene Descartes

Descartes never did a stroke of useful work in his life. At various times he

described himself as a solider, a mathematician, a thinker and a gentleman. The

last comes closest to describing his attitude toward life as well as his social

status. Descartes was indisputably the most original philosopher to appear in the

fifteen centuries following the death of Aristotle.

Rene Descartes was born March 31, 1596, in the small town of La Haye,

in the Creuse Valley thirty miles south of Tours, France. Rene was the fourth

child. Descartes spent a solitary childhood, accentuated by his sickly nature, and

he quickly learned to do without company. From his early years he is known to

have been introspective and reserved.

Rene Descartes was a foundationalist. Descartes is one of the most

important Western philosophers of the past few centuries. He became one of the

most important and influential thinkers in human history, and is sometimes called

the founder of modern philosophy. Descartes attempted to restart philosophy in

a fresh direction.

The two most widely known of Descartes' philosophy ideas are a method

of hyperbolic doubt and the argument that, though he may doubt, he cannot

doubt that he exists. In order for there to be doubting, there must be a doubter.

In order to think, there had to be a thinker. If I am being deceived, then surely "I"

must exist. This is known as cogito ergo sum, "I think, therefore I am."

Descartes concludes that he can be certain that he exists. Thinking is his

essence as it is the only thing about him that cannot be doubted.

Descartes begins to prove other truths, such as the existence of God. In

Descartes' view, God created the universe. He thought of God as a resembling

human mind in that both the mind and God think, but have no physical being.

Descartes believed that God is unlike the human mind and that God is

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