Rene Descartes Essay

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Rene Descartes was a famous French mathematician, scientist and philosopher. He was arguably the first major philosopher in the modern era to make a serious effort to defeat skepticism. His views about knowledge and certainty, as well as his views about the relationship between mind and body have been very influential over the last three centuries. Descartes was born at La Haye (now called Descartes), and educated at the Jesuit College of La Flèche between 1606 and 1614. Descartes later claimed that his education gave him little of substance and that only mathematics had given him certain knowledge. In this lament he joins a chorus of seventeenth century philosophers including Bacon, Hobbes and Locke. In 1618 he went to Holland to serve…show more content…
So, the search was on for the method used by the ancient mathematicians to make their discoveries (the method of analysis). Descartes is clearly convinced that the discovery of the proper method is the key to scientific advance. For a more extended and detailed discussion of these methods, see John Cottingham , The Rationalists, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982. Chapter 2. In November 1628 Descartes was in Paris, where he made himself famous in a confrontation with Chandoux. Chandoux claimed that science could only be based on probablitiies. This view reflected the dominance in French intellectual circles of Renaissance skepticism. This skptical view was rooted in the religious crisis in Europe resulting from the Protestant Reformation and had been deepened by the publication of the works of Sextus Empiricus and reflections on disagreements between classical authors. It was strengthend again by considerations about the differences in culture between New World cultures and that of Europe, and by the debates over the new Copernican system. All of this had been eloquently formulated by Montaigne in his Apology for Raymond Sebond and developed by his followers. Descartes attacked this view, claiming only that certainty could serve as a basis for knowledge, and that he himself had a method for attaining such certainty. In the same year Descartes moved to Holland where he remained with only brief interruptions until 1649. In Holland Descartes produced
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