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Transcript of Rene Descartes
The Father Of Modern Philosophy
Who Am I?
Rene Descartes is known as the father of modern day philosophy.
He founded the school of thought called Cartesianism.
He came up with the ideas for the “Causal Adequacy Principle.”
His most famous quote is translated to "I think; therefore I am."
Descartes looked up to Aristotle even though he later opposed Aristotle's views.
He received law degree, but never began to practice law.
While enlisted in the Army, Descartes met Isaac Beeckman.
Beeckman became the teacher to Descartes and influenced him to write several papers.
Descartes' life adversities influenced the development of his theories.
Descartes received the title of "The Father of Modern Philosophy" because he was one of the first philosophers to break away from the traditional Scholastic-Aristotelian theories.
He did this in two ways: by attempting to get rid of doubt in his theories, and by using mechanistic models (based on Geometry) of the world instead of casual models.
Descartes discovered several math equations and principles including the axis of a graph.
When taking into consideration the accomplishments of Descartes, there is no question as to why he has gained this title.
Cartesianism is the school of thought that Descartes founded.
It is considered a form of rationalism and opposed Aristotle's views.
Cartesian's need to be satisfied with little understanding of science, because they believe that God's will is entirely free.
Descartes formed this idea during his third meditation, in which he discovered God for himself.
From his meditations, Descartes also formed theories which relate God to any human understanding of "infinite," because human minds and thought are finite.
"Cogito, ergo sum"
Created by Descartes, this Latin phrase means "I think; therefore I am."
Descartes argued that one cannot think without knowing he exists; therefore, everyone has knowledge of their own existence.
He believed the phrase to be his first undoubtedly true piece of knowledge.
The only way for Descartes' phrase to be true is if it is in a first person point of view.
For instance, if someone were to say, "Cassidy is thinking; therefore she is," doubt could arise because one does not know if Cassidy is thinking.
Descartes used his phrase as a basis for the rest of his philosophical theories.
Casual Adequacy Principle
Descartes came up with the principle during one of his meditations.
The principle states that an object's cause must be as real as the object itself.
For example, if modern science said that rainbows came from unicorns', Descartes would reject the idea of rainbows because unicorns are fictional.
Descartes applies this thought to being a "perfect being."
He says that in order to be a perfect being, one must first have an idea of what a perfect being is; however the idea of a perfect being (the object) must come from a perfect being (the real cause).
Applied to the World Today
Descartes made a distinction between mind and body which is still relevant in the 21st century.
He showed throughout time that everything can be doubted. This has become an important concept in modern science and in the way people think today.
By attempting to rid his theories of doubt, Descartes formed several skepticism theories which have created a famous attitude of doubt.
Before his concepts, one could not be in the nature of science and believe in God at the same time.
Quiz for Candy
1. What school of thought did Descartes form? State one belief that was associated with this thought system.
2. Give an example that demonstrates the Casual Adequacy Principle.
3. What is one way that Descartes broke away from the traditional Scholastic-Aristotelian school of thought?
4. What is the only concrete way for Descartes' phrase "Cogito, ergo sum" to be true?
5. State another way in which Descartes' philosophical revelations apply to the world today.
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Smith, Kurt. "Descartes' Life and Works." Stanford University. Stanford University,
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Watson, Richard A. "Cartesianism (philosophy)." Encyclopedia
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