René Descartes / Cartesio
René Descartes (1596 – 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years of his life in the Dutch Republic, and is one of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age. Descartes is also widely regarded as one of the founders of modern philosophy.
Many elements of Descartes's philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. Refusing to accept the authority of previous philosophers, Descartes frequently set his views apart from the philosophers who preceded him. His best known philosophical statement, "I think, therefore I am", is found in Discourse on the Method and Principles of Philosophy.
Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes's influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry—used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution.
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