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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
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Oct 7th, 2015
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