René Descartes (1596 - 1650) - French mathematician, physicist and physiologist, philosopher. Descartes developed a course in Analytical Geometry. This person is the author of the current algebraic symbolism. Moreover, the philosopher in his works laid the method of radical doubt.
Descartes was the youngest son of an old noble family. The Jesuit College La Flèche (which Descartes graduated in 1612) became the place where Descartes received his primary education.
The religious education he received strengthened in the young man doubts about the philosophical authorities of that time - a little later Descartes will designate his method of cognition, which will include deductive reasoning.
The main works of R. Descartes: "Discourse on the method ..." (1637), "Reflections on the first philosophy ..." (1641), "Principles of Philosophy" (1644).
In 1649, the philosopher succumbed to the persuasion of Queen Christina of Sweden. Descartes moves to Stockholm. However, this city brought Descartes a serious cold, from which the famous philosopher died (presumably from pneumonia). However, a hypothesis has been put forward about his poisoning.
The Beginning of Philosophy is an extensive work by Descartes. It was published in 1644. This work was preceded by another work published in 1641, "Reflections on the first philosophy". "The beginning of philosophy" included the philosopher's reflections on the cosmos (world); here he presented an extensive program for the creation of a theory of nature. Descartes used the methodological rule developed by him to lay the simplest and most obvious propositions as the basis for thinking.
Descartes' philosophy is simple. So in no case can you say. On the contrary, the views of this philosopher are quite complex and sometimes not entirely clear. The philosophical view of the world of Descartes is dualistic. In his philosophy, the existence of two substances is allowed. The first is material. It is characterized by extension, but not by the presence of thinking. Descartes says that all the infinite depth, length, width of our Universe are components of material space, the particles of which are in constant motion. Unlike medieval philosophers, who argued that the world is finite, Descartes insists on the infinity of world space. Moreover, the philosopher declares the homogeneity of world matter (this is another difference from medieval concepts). Each particle of matter is represented by Descartes as a passive and inert mass. The philosopher considered movement as movement that takes place only after a push, which is communicated from the outside. The second substance is spiritual. It is characterized by the possession of thinking, but not by extension. Material and spiritual substances are in principle independent of each other. However, man is able to combine these two products of God's activity.
Descartes developed several rules by which material particles interact with each other. The first rule is that any separately taken part of matter will remain in a certain state for that time until it encounters other particles that can change this state. The second rule of Descartes is that when two bodies interact (collide), one of them loses as much motion as is transferred to the second body. The third rule of Descartes boils down to the fact that any taken particle of a certain body tends to its continuation in a straight line. While the path of the body, as a rule, can only be represented by a curved line. In these formulations, R. Descartes sees a description of the law of conservation of momentum, as well as the law of inertia.
Descartes pays less attention to the law of gravitation. The philosopher also considers this law in the aspect of movement and interaction of particles. In addition, Descartes still speaks about the direction of inertial motion in a straight line. However, in this regard, the philosopher discusses the state of the movement as a whole. At the same time, the content of this concept is not specified. The quantity is the most important characteristic of the state of parts of matter. No less important characteristics are the speed of movement and the possibility of its change, the shape of parts of matter, etc. The ability to change the speed of movement under the influence of external particles can be identified with such a concept as inertia, and the philosopher talks about the connection of the inertia of a body with its speed. The philosopher's dualistic concept assumes that it is God who is the general and main reason for the movement of bodies. God created mothers. God created rest and movement. Descartes' philosophical views on man are dualistic. In this regard, a person is a connection between the bodily mechanism and the soul. The bodily mechanism is characterized by lifelessness and soullessness. The soul has the will and the ability to think. Body and soul, according to the philosopher, can interact thanks to a special organ. Descartes considers this organ to be the pineal gland. Complex movements of the human body are possible only through mechanical influences, since the body consists only of material elements.
The question of the method of cognition is one of the most important in the philosophical outlook of Descartes. This philosopher considered the main task of knowledge in the consistent knowledge of nature (from simpler to more complex). The result of such knowledge should have been the acquisition of the right of man's domination over his environment.
Doubt is the main position of Descartes's philosophical searches. The philosopher doubts everything, and this is a kind of preparatory method. "I think, therefore, I am" - this statement R. Descartes put in the basis of his philosophical doctrine. The phrase "I think, therefore I am" is beyond doubt. It includes two ideas: the first is "I think." The second is "I exist." The first object of knowledge of a person is his soul, in which both innate and acquired ideas are stored.
Descartes is the founder of rationalism. Rationalism recognizes the primacy of reason over experience and advocates the development of the mathematical sciences. The truths proved by mathematics, according to the philosopher, are absolutely reliable. Necessity and universality are peculiar to these truths. These characteristics are derived from the nature of intelligence. In view of this, R. Descartes especially emphasized the importance of the deductive method. The essence of this method lies in the fact that if the initial principles are reliable, then from a small number of them, various conclusions and consequences can be obtained, which will also be reliable. The deductive method itself originated in ancient Greece. However, it was Descartes who linked the method of deduction in relation to natural science. While acknowledging the deductive method, the philosopher nevertheless did not deny the inductive method. The philosopher was well aware of the importance of the experience required in the process of cognition. Moreover, experience is also the criterion of truth.
Cartesianism is the teaching of Descartes. And also the direction in philosophical views that continued the ideas of the philosopher. The word Cartesianism is associated with the name Descartes, which in Latin is translated as Cartesius. Cartesianism greatly influenced the further development of both philosophy and physics. Moreover, this applies to both the idealistic direction in philosophy and the material. The following elements of Descartes' teachings served as the basis for idealism. This doctrine of innate ideas and intuition, the reliability of human self-consciousness, etc. The materialistic worldview is partially based on the philosopher's doctrine of nature, as well as the movement of bodies and particles.
Rene Descartes, according to his contemporaries, was a cheerful and lively person. But only in the circle of the closest friends. In a large society, the philosopher was very unfriendly and most of the time taciturn. This often happens in people who tend to maintain a secluded lifestyle. Descartes was unable to love those around him, so a heavy impression comes from his relationship to loved ones. Descartes, endowed with arrogance and arrogance, was known as an obsequious courtier.