Although often remembered best for the quotation "I think, therefore I am," the philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, also developed the Cartesian coordinate system, made significant contributions to the field of optics and devised a mechanistic model of physics. In addition to being considered the father of modern philosophy, based primarily on his breaking away from the previously adhered-to Scholastic-Aristotelian tradition, Descartes is also viewed as one of the major figures in the scientific revolution that was taking place in the 17th century. One of his most ambitious undertakings was the development of a systematic theory of deduction and knowledge based on methodological skepticism that eventually grew into 17th-century European rationalism.
Continue ReadingDistrustful of reasoning based on sensory perceptions, which he believed could be deceptive, Descartes set out to determine a basic premise that would prove to be fully resistant to all forms of doubt. His famous statement "I think, therefore I am" was the result of this search, and it laid the foundation for a line of reasoning based on deduction and causal explanations existing within a mechanistic framework.
The mathematical system developed by Descartes and named after him, the Cartesian coordinate system, proved extremely influential by serving as a bridge between geometry and algebra. It paved the way for the later developments of calculus and mathematical analysis. Descartes' system provided an innovative means by which equations could be expressed geometrically in a two-dimensional plane based on their coordinates within the graphical field of x- and y-axes he designed.
Learn more about PhilosophyRene Descartes, widely regarded as the father of modern philosophy, broke with the Aristotelian tradition, helping establish modern rationalism. He argued for a mechanistic universe in opposition to Aristotle's views on causality. He also made important contributions to mathematics and physics.
Full Answer >Descartes' works include "Musicae Compendium," "The World," "Man," "Dioptrics," "The Meteors," "Geometry," "Discourse on the Method," "The Meditations," "Principles of Philosophy," "The Search for Truth," "The Description of the Human Body" and "Passions of the Soul." Some were published posthumously as were some essays and letters that were lesser known.
Full Answer >Plato was a philosopher and mathematician who changed the way philosophy was perceived and practiced in the Western world. He abandoned political power in the oligarchy to seek out virtue. Influenced by Socrates, Plato wrote some of the most enduring pieces of philosophical literature, which have had noted influences on every subsequent culture that read them. He founded the Academy and taught Aristotle, who also shaped Western thought and behavior.
Full Answer >Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He is best known for his contributions to mathematics, particularly the Pythagorean Theorem, and for founding the Pythagorean religion, whose adherents may have contributed some of the mathematical work that is often ascribed to him.
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