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René Descartes

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.

Random Quote/Passage:

 "Mais aussitôt après je pris garde que, pendant que je voulais ainsi penser que tout était faux, il fallait nécessairement que moi qui le pensais fusse quelque chose; et remarquant que cette vérité, je pense, donc je suis, était si ferme et si assurée, que toutes les plus extravagantes suppositions des sceptiques n'étaient pas capables de l'ébranler, je jugeai que je pouvais la recevoir sans scrupule pour le premier principe de la philosophie que je cherchais."
"But immediately upon this I observed that, while I thus wished to think that all was false, it was absolutely necessary that I, who thus thought, should be somewhat; and as I observed that this truth, I think, therefore I am (cogito ergo sum), was so certain and of such evidence that no ground of doubt, however extravagant, could be alleged by the sceptics capable of shaking it, I concluded that I might, without scruple, accept it as the first principle of the philosophy of which I was in search."
Discours de la Méthode - René Descartes

Available Titles in French - English Bilingual Edition (Project Bilingual)

Discours de la Méthode

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