Rene Descartes

Essay by letsrockUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Rene Descartes lived from 1596 to 1650. He was a French mathematician, philosopher, and anatomist. He contributed to modern ideas, mainly those associated with science, rational thought, and the scientific method.

He was born in La Haye, a city in central France. His father was a lawyer and left him an annual income for life. He attended the college of Henri IV at La Fleche when he was 10, ordered by his father. Descartes left La Fleche in 1614 to study civil and anon law at Poitiers and two years later he had received the baccalaureate and licentiate degrees in law. In 1918 he joined the army of Prince Maurice of Nassau as a volunteer. In his early life he wanted to accomplish something in life, something like a new and stable basis for all knowledge..

In 1637 he published Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Rightly and for Searching for Truth in the Sciences which he wrote in France.

This book introduced three ideas, one on optics, one on geometry, and one on meteorology. Four yeas later he wrote Meditations on First Philosophy which is his version of a unified and certain body of the human knowledge. The Catholic and Protestant Church was angered by his book, claiming that Descartes' hope was to replace the teachings of Aristotle. In 1644 he publish Principles of Philosophy which he hoped would in-fact replace Aristotle's teachings. His last important work was called Passions of the Soul where he explored topics such as the relationship of the soul to the body, the nature of emotion, and the role of the will in controlling emotions. In 1649 Queen Christina of Sweden convinced Descartes that he should come to Stockholm to teach her philosophy. On his way home from one of the queen's...