Discourse on Method and Meditations

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Courier Corporation, 2003 - Philosophy - 121 pages
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Is it possible to be certain of anything? If so, how? The father of modern philosophy and the founder of rational method in philosophical thought, René Descartes (1596–1650) sought the answers to these questions and in doing so, addressed the most important of methods of thinking and understanding truth. In Discourse on Method, he applies a scientific approach to philosophy that comprises four principles: to accept only what reason recognizes as "clear and distinct"; to analyze complex ideas by dividing them into smaller elements; to reconstruct the ideas; and to make accurate and complete enumerations of the data. His Meditations proceed according to this method, exploring the mind/body distinction, the nature of truth and error, the existence of God, and the essence of material things.
  

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About the author (2003)

Best known for the quote from his Meditations de prima philosophia, or Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), "I think therefore I am," philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes also devoted much of his time to the studies of medicine, anatomy and meteorology. Part of his Discourse on the Method for Rightly Conducting One's Reason and Searching for the Truth in the Sciences (1637) became the foundation for analytic geometry. Descartes is also credited with designing a machine to grind hyperbolic lenses, as part of his interest in optics. Rene Descartes was born in 1596 in La Haye, France. He began his schooling at a Jesuit college before going to Paris to study mathematics and to Poitiers in 1616 to study law. He served in both the Dutch and Bavarian military and settled in Holland in 1629. In 1649, he moved to Stockholm to be a philosophy tutor to Queen Christina of Sweden. He died there in 1650. Because of his general fame and philosophic study of the existence of God, some devout Catholics, thinking he would be canonized a saint, collected relics from his body as it was being transported to France for burial.

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