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How did René Descartes help to bring about the shift from one system to the next in the 16th and 17th centuries?

Oct 7th, 2015

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Descartes has been dubbed the father of modern philosophy, and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings which are studied closely to this day. Descartes's influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system — allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two- or three-dimensional coordinate system (and conversely, shapes to be described as equations) — was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution.

Descartes refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers, and refused to trust his own senses. He frequently set his views apart from those of his predecessors. In his natural philosophy, he differs from the schools on two major points: First, he rejects the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejects any appeal to final ends—divine or natural—in explaining natural phenomena. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation. Thus he laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism


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Oct 7th, 2015

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