- (1596-1650)philosopher, scholarBorn in La Haye, Touraine, the son of a minor nobleman, René Descartes began his education at the Jesuit school of La Flèche in Anjou. He studied law at the university of Poitiers, and in 1618 entered the service of the prince of Nassau with the intention of beginning a military career. His attention, however, was soon drawn to philosophy and mathematics. After a period in Italy (1623-24) and in France (1624-28), Descartes settled in the Netherlands, where he spent the rest of his life devoted to the study of philosophy and science. His first major work was Essais, philosophies (1637). In certain essays on geometry, optics, and meteors, and his Discours de la méthode, he presents his philosophical views. This latter work was followed by Méditations métaphysiques (1641) and Principes de philosophie (1644). The latter was dedicated to Princess Elisabeth Stuart of Bohemia, with whom he had a deep friendship. In 1649 Descartes was invited to instruct at the court of Queen Christina of Sweden, and it is there that the rigors of a northern climate caused his death. Descartes's philosophy is based on his attempt to apply the rational inductive methods of mathematics to philosophy. He began his investigation with what was to him the single sure fact expressed in his words "Cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). His philosophy, sometimes called Cartesianism, led him, however, to a number of erroneous conclusions. He rejected the heliocentric view of the solar system, for instance, and in physiology, misinterpreted the nature of blood in its circulation. In the area of optics, however, his study led him to independent discovery of the law of reflection. Descartes's most important contribution to the study of mathematics was his systematization of analytic geometry. He was the first mathematician to attempt to classify curves according to their types of equation. He also formulated the rule, known as Descartes's rule of signs, for finding the number of positive and negative roots in algebraic equations.
France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.
Look at other dictionaries:
Descartes, René — • Philosopher and scientist, born at La Haye France, 31 March, 1596; died at Stockholm, Sweden, 11 February 1650 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 … Catholic encyclopedia
Descartes, René — Des·cartes (dā kärtʹ), René. 1596 1650. French mathematician, philosopher, and scientist who is considered the father of analytic geometry and the founder of modern rationalism. His main works, Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) and… … Universalium
Descartes, René — (1596–1650) Philosopher. Descartes was born in La Haye, France, and was educated at the Jesuit College of La Flèche. After a short military and legal career, he settled in Holland until a year before his death when he moved to Sweden at the … Who’s Who in Christianity
Descartes, René — (1596 1650) French philosopher Rene´ Descartes challenged scepticism and scholastism while creating a body of work sufficient to earn him the title Father of Modern Philosophy . This title refers to his emphasis upon individual reason and… … Christian Philosophy
Descartes, René — (1596 1650) Together with Immanuel Kant and David Hume , the French philosopher René Descartes is one of the founding figures of modern Western philosophy. Descartes also made significant contributions to mathematics and the science of mechanics … Dictionary of sociology
Descartes, René — (1596–1650) French mathematician and founding father of modern philosophy. Born in La Haye, near Tours, Descartes was educated at the new Jesuit college at La Flèche, before reading law at Poitiers. In 1618 he enlisted at his own expense in the… … Philosophy dictionary
Descartes, René — (1596 1650) A French rationalist philosopher who according to the British physician and alienist Forbes Benignus Winslow (1810 1874) was plagued by the voice of an invisible person after a period of confinement. Reportedly, this voice urged… … Dictionary of Hallucinations
Descartes, René — ► (1596 1650) Filósofo y matemático francés. Su elaboración filosófica parte de las ideas «claras y distintas» y de la duda metódica como método para alcanzar la verdad. Sus principales obras son El discurso del método (1637), Meditaciones acerca … Enciclopedia Universal
DESCARTES, RENÉ — the father of modern philosophy, born at La Haye, in Touraine; was educated at the Jesuit College of La Flèche, where he made rapid progress in all that his masters could teach him, but soon grew sceptical as to their methods of inquiry;… … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Descartes, René — Cartesio, Renato … Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione