Historical Who is Who

DESCARTES, Rene

1596 - 1650
France
PHILOSOPHY

 

Jesuit educated, widely travelled, settling in Holland at the age of 32 and remaining there until summoned by the Queen of Sweden to tutor her in philosophy in 1649. Rene Descartes’s distinctive approach was one of ‘radical doubt’, which in turn leads to individual awareness: ‘I think therefore I am’. My mind which is within me is different from the material world which is out there. It is different also from the otherness of God – an absolutely perfect being. This distinction becomes known as ‘Cartesian dualism’. His approach to morality is: think carefully, act resolutely, be realistic, chose a matching career and be generous.

 

Life

 

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