Why is Rene Descartes famous?

Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician back in the early 1600s.  During his time, he became famous for his contributions in the field of mathematics and philosophy.  With his various contributions in many fields, including the so-called scientific revolution, Descartes was also known as a genius.

In the field of mathematics, Descartes was a known figure in the subject of geometry.  In fact, with his studies and contributions on geometric shapes and algebraic equations through the coordinate system named after him (Cartesian Coordinate System), he was considered the father of analytical geometry.

As a philosopher, Descartes was a known supporter of rationalism which basically involves the use or application of mathematical procedures and techniques in the understanding of philosophy.  In the case of acquisitions of knowledge, for example, Descartes believed and likened it to the rules involving geometry and numbers.  In a sense, for Descartes, knowledge can only be gained by applying some principles of mathematics.  For Rene Descartes, the quest for truth can be achieved through the intellectual or reasonable way rather than through sensory perception like those that involved people’s moods and feelings.

Descartes also became known as the Father of Modern Philosophy because his views during his time were very different from the general understanding of people.  It was said that people then believed so many things based on their feelings and other senses rather than on actual knowledge or reason. His quest for knowledge had a basic formula wherein people needed to literally take everything off the equation and start with a fresh idea in mind.  Through this process, people can then gain insights based on actual fact or reason.  Without a clean slate to start with, ideas will lean toward prejudices and preconceived beliefs.  With this philosophical belief, Descartes was then famously quoted to have said, “I think, therefore I am.”

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