René Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer. He has been called the Father of Modern Philosophy, and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Mind-body problem, consciousness and conscious thought as the center of being, dualism are a few keywords that point to centuries old traditions that have been informed by Descartes’ writings.
He is perhaps best known for the philosophical statement Cogito ergo sum (Je pense, donc je suis, I think, therefore I am), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637, written in French but with inclusion of Cogito ergo sum) and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644, in Latin).
René Descartes died in 1650 at the age of 53 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he had been invited as a tutor for Queen Christina of Sweden.