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Rene Descartes was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of the philosophy. Born in 1596, he lived to become a great mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. In fact, he became one of the central intellectual figures of the sixteen hundreds. He is believed by some to be the father of modern philosophy, although he was hampered by living in a time when other prominent scientists, such as Galileo, were persecuted for their discoveries and beliefs. Although this probably had an impact on his desire to publish controversial material, he went on to devise works such as the Meditations on First Philosophy and the Principles of Philosophy Aside from these accomplishments, his most important and lasting mathematical work was the invention of analytic geometry. It seems that the underlying point of Descartesís philosophy is to specify exactly what it is that we are sure we know.
Understanding Descartesí philosophy begins with understanding his method of doubt. Think about it like this. Almost everything you believe to be true comes from the senses or through the senses. However, the senses are sometimes deceptive. Since the senses are not completely trustworthy, it is irrational to place complete trust in them. However it is no small leap of faith to presume that everything our senses tells us is false. In fact, it seems almost preposterous to say such a thing. But as Descartes points out, we have dreams regularly and in these dreams everyth...