Paper on Rene Descartes - French Philosopher, Mathematician and Physician

Paper on René Descartes - French Philosopher, Mathematician and Physician

René Descartes (also known by his Latin name “Renatus Cartesius”) was a French philosopher, mathematician and physician. He was known not only by his revolutionary work in science and philosophy but also in math, creating the analytic geometry, becoming one of the key figures of the Scientific Revolution. Descartes is called the creator of modern Philosophy, as well as modern Mathematics, considered one of the most influent and important figures of the History of West Thought. He inspired contemporaries and many generations of philosophers that came after him. Great part of the philosophy that was wrote after Descartes, was a reaction to his work or to the work of authors influenced by him. Many historians also say that from Descartes, the Modern Age Rationalism was created. The philosopher lived in an epoch marked by religious wars between Protestants and Catholics. He travelled a lot and saw that societies have different, and many times contradictory, beliefs.

Descartes was born in 1596 in La Haye (about 300 km away from Paris) in a noble family that was dedicated to commerce, law and medicine. His father, Joachim Descartes, was a lawyer and judge and his mother, Jeane Brochard, died when he was at a really young age.

At the age of eight, Descartes was sent to the Jesuitical School staying there for about ten years. The philosopher admired the discipline and education that he received, but thought that the teaching itself was futile, uninteresting, and without fundamentals that would be considered rationally satisfactory. Math was the only discipline that had attracted him. Descartes was very religious and saved this faith until his death. Later, he decided to abandon the regular studies and win experience getting in direct contact with the world. In 1618, went to Netherlands to join the army, entering the military school of Brenda and became a non paid officer of Maurice de Nassau’s army. While in Netherlands, he also studied art, Flemish language, and dedicated more to Math.

After two years in Netherlands, Descartes left the army and travelled to Denmark, Dantzig, Poland, and Germany. While in this trip, the philosopher said he had dreams that, according to his interpretation, meant that he had the mission of gathering all human knowledge into a universal science, build of rational certainties. Finally in 1623, René goes back to France resigning military life to dedicate himself to scientific and philosophical investigation. Discussions with friends, private studies and reflection were the standard of Descartes’ life in Paris. During this time, the young philosopher’s name started to become known. He decided that to accomplish his work, he needed peace and quietness and that Paris was too agitated. It was time to put into paper the results of his contact with the world and of his own meditations. Because of that, René moved to Netherlands in 1628, where he spent his time seeking to consolidate a method which, starting from absolute doubt, could reach the most absolute certainty and the studies of different sciences unified by the new method, would led to a universal scheme of knowledge. It was the philosopher’s ambitions publish a book called “The World” but, around 1633, he received in news that Galileu Galilei had been condemned by the Catholic Church, because of that he decided not to publish his work. However, in 1637, Descartes wrote a treaty of science, called Discourse on Method, exposing a method of getting to a truth and published it anonymously. In 1644 another book called Principles of Philosophy appears in Amsterdam. Descartes’ works were completely rejected by the Church and putted in the Index.

In 1649, René Descartes goes to Stockholm upon the request of the queen that wanted to be taught in philosophy and math. However, he got a cold that would become pneumonia, dying in 1650.