Born March, 31st 1569 in La Haye en Touraine France, René Descartes was a very significant philosopher, mathematician, scientist and writer. He attended a Jesuit college at La Flèche. Later named “The Father of Modern Philosophy”, much of western philosophies are a reaction to his books which have been studied meticulously for centuries. Many elements of René’s philosophy have many similarities to that of Aristotle. Descartes was a very influential figure during the 17th century continental rationalist. Descartes’ study of math led him to think very methodically, which allowed him to be one of the first modern philosophers to provide philosophical outline for the natural sciences.
Descartes attempts to create a set of fundamental principles that one can know to be true without doubting. In order to do this he rejects any principle that ...view middle of the document...
Descartes continues by saying, “thinking is his essence as it is the only thing about him that cannot be doubted.” Descartes continues to prove the unreliability of the senses through the famous Wax Argument. He holds a piece of wax which has a definite shape, texture, size and color etc. When he brings the wax towards the flame the shape, texture and characteristics of the wax change, although it appears to the same thing, therefore he concludes that in order to grasp the essence of the wax he must not use his senses but his mind. With this Descartes continues to create a system of knowledge which discards the use of senses and perception as unreliable and instead focuses solely on the ability of the mind and the use of deduction.
Descartes proceeds to propose that there exists a benevolent God, and because this God is benevolent he can have faith in the reality that is presented to him through his senses. God has provided him with a functioning sensory system and does not desire to deceive him through the senses. Finally, he establishes the ability to acquire knowledge of the world through both deduction and perception.
Through Descartes system of knowledge would lay the foundation for rationalist philosophers of the future, proving that reason is the only reliable method to attaining knowledge. Descartes main focus was to eliminate doubt in everyday life, he accomplished this by eliminating anything that could be in the slightest manner doubted, thus forcing himself to re-prove all mathematical theories etc. In doing so he realizes that the senses are a reliable source with which to glean information, due to the fact that there is a benevolent God who created all man kind with functioning sensory systems, which he does not wish to use to deceive us with. Finally Descartes is led to say “I think therefore I am” because he initially did not believe that reality could be accurately portrayed through the senses but solely through thought.