Rene Descartes



René Descartes

(1596 – 1650) – French mathematician, physicist and physiologist, philosopher. Descartes developed a course of analytical geometry. This man is the author of the present algebraic symbolism. Moreover, the philosopher in his works laid the method of radical doubt.

Descartes was the youngest son in the family of an old noble family. The future philosopher was born on March 31, 1596 in Lae town, his grandmother from the mother’s side was engaged in his upbringing of the boy. As a child, the boy had a rather fragile health. However, this did not stop him from being very inquisitive. Jesuit College La Flesch (which Descartes completed in 1612) was the place where Descartes received the primary level of education.


His religious education strengthened his doubts with the philosophical authorities of the time – a little later Descartes will designate his method of cognition, which will include deductive reasoning.

The main works of R. Descartes: “Discourse on the method …” (1637), “Reflections on the First Philosophy …” (1641), “The Beginning of Philosophy” (1644).

In 1649, the philosopher succumbed to the persuasion of the Swedish Queen Christina. Descartes moved to Stockholm. However, this city brought Descartes a serious cold, from which the famous philosopher died (presumably from pneumonia). However, a hypothesis about its poisoning is also being put forward.

“The beginning of philosophy” – a vast work of Descartes.

It was published in 1644. This work was preceded by another work, published in 1641, “Reflections on the First Philosophy.” “The beginning of philosophy” included the philosopher’s reflections on the cosmos (the world); Here he presented an extensive program of creating a theory of nature. Descartes used the methodological rule he developed as the basis for reflections to lay down the simplest and most obvious provisions.

Descartes’s philosophy is simple.

So in any case can not be affirmed. On the contrary, the views of this philosopher are rather complex and sometimes not entirely clear. The philosophical view of the world of Descartes is dualistic. In his philosophy, the existence of two substances is allowed. The first is material. For it, the length is inherent, but the presence of thinking is not characteristic. Descartes says that all the boundless depth, length, width of our Universe are the components of the material space, the particles of which are in constant motion. Unlike the medieval philosophers who argued about the finiteness of the world, Descartes insists on the vastness of the world space. Moreover, the philosopher declares the homogeneity of world matter (this is another difference from medieval concepts). Each particle of matter is represented by Descartes as a passive and inert mass. The movement was regarded by the philosopher as a movement that takes place only after a push that is communicated from outside. The second substance is spiritual. It is inherent in the possession of thinking, but not typical length. Material and spiritual substances are in principle independent of each other. However, a person is able to combine these two products of God’s activities.

Descartes has developed several rules by which material particles interact with each other.

The first rule is that any single part of matter will remain in a certain state for as long as there is no encounter with other particles that can change this state. The second rule of Descartes is that in the interaction (collision) of two bodies, one of them loses as much motion as it is transferred to the second body. The third rule of Descartes boils down to the fact that any given particle of a particular body tends to continue it in a straight line. While the body path, as a rule, can be represented only by a curve line. In these formulations of Descartes we see a description of the law of conservation of momentum, as well as the law of inertia.

Descartes pays less attention to the law of gravitation.

This law is also considered by the philosopher in the aspect of the motion and interaction of particles. In addition, Descartes still speaks about the direction of inertial motion along a straight line. However, in this respect, the philosopher argues the state of the movement as a whole. However, the content of this concept is not specified. The magnitude is the most important characteristic of the state of the parts of matter. No less important characteristics are the speed of motion and the possibility of changing it, the shape of parts of matter, etc. The ability to change the speed of motion when exposed to external particles can be identified with a concept such as inertia, and the philosopher speaks of the relationship of inertia of a body with its speed. The dualistic conception of the philosopher suggests that it is God who is the common and main cause of the movement of bodies. God created the mother. God created rest and movement. Descartes’s philosophical views on man are dualistic. In this respect man is the connection of the physical mechanism with the soul. The bodily mechanism is characterized by lifelessness and soullessness. The soul has the will and the ability to think. The body and soul, according to the philosopher, can interact through a special body. This organ Descartes considers pineal gland. Complex movements of the human body are possible only through mechanical influences, since the body consists only of material elements.

The question of the method of cognition is one of the most important in the philosophical view of Descartes.

This philosopher considered the main task of knowledge in the successive cognition of nature (from simpler to more complex). The result of this knowledge was to obtain the right to dominate man over his environment.

Doubt is the basic position of Descartes’s philosophical quest.

The philosopher doubts everything, and this is a kind of preparatory method. “Think, therefore, I am” – this statement R. Descartes laid in the basis of his philosophical teaching. The phrase “think, therefore, exist” is beyond doubt. It includes two ideas: the first – “I think.” The second is “I exist.” The first object of human knowledge is his soul, in which both innate and acquired ideas are stored.

Descartes is the founder of rationalism.

Rationalism recognizes the primacy of reason over experience and advocates the development of mathematical sciences. The truths proved by mathematics, according to the philosopher, are absolutely reliable. For these truths there is a need for them and universality. These characteristics are derived from the nature of the intellect. In view of this, Descartes particularly emphasized the significance of the deductive method. The essence of this method is that if the initial principles are reliable, then from their small number one can obtain various conclusions and consequences, which will also be reliable. The deductive method itself originated in Ancient Greece. However, it was Descartes who connected the deduction method with reference to natural science. Recognizing the deductive method, the philosopher nevertheless did not deny the inductive one. The philosopher was well aware of the significance of the experience necessary in the process of cognition. In addition, experience is also a criterion of truth.

Cartesianism is the teaching of Descartes.

And also the direction in the philosophical views, which continued the ideas of the philosopher. The word Cartesianism is associated with the name of Descartes, which in Latin is translated only as Cartesian. Cartesianism strongly influenced the further development of both philosophy and physics. And this applies to both the idealistic trend in philosophy and the material. The following elements of Descartes’ teaching served as a support for idealism. This is the doctrine of innate ideas and intuition, of the authenticity of a person’s self-consciousness, etc. The materialist worldview is partly based on the philosopher’s teaching about nature, and also on the motion of bodies and particles.

Rene Descartes, according to contemporaries, was a cheerful and lively person.

But only with the closest friends. In a large society, the philosopher was very unpopular and most of the time was silent.This often happens in those people for whom it is peculiar to maintain a secluded way of life. Descartes was unable to love others, so the hard impression comes from his attitude towards close people. Descartes, endowed with arrogance and arrogance, was known as an obsequious courtier.



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