Q:

What were the contributions of Rene Descartes?

A:

Rene Descartes, widely regarded as the father of modern philosophy, broke with the Aristotelian tradition, helping establish modern rationalism. He argued for a mechanistic universe in opposition to Aristotle's views on causality. He also made important contributions to mathematics and physics.

Descartes is most famous for his statement, "Cogito, ergo sum," often translated as, "I think, therefore I am." He argued that this provided an irrefutable foundation for knowledge. Even when humans are doubting, they are still thinking, so they can therefore always know that they exist. On this premise Descartes constructed his system of philosophy, later known as Cartesian Dualism.

In mathematics, Descartes invented the system of Cartesian coordinates that allows geometric statements to be expressed in algebraic form. He also invented the practice of using "x" and "y" to represent unknown variables in equations. His early work on optics was the first to mention the law of reflection, which states that light is reflected at the same angle at which it approaches a surface. He supported the idea of conservation of momentum and laid out the principle of inertia. Descartes worked in other areas of science as well, producing some early attempts to explain the origin and development of the universe in purely mechanistic terms without resorting to supernatural intervention.

Sources:

  1. iep.utm.edu

Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What were some of the achievements of Rene Descartes?

    A:

    Although often remembered best for the quotation "I think, therefore I am," the philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, also developed the Cartesian coordinate system, made significant contributions to the field of optics and devised a mechanistic model of physics. In addition to being considered the father of modern philosophy, based primarily on his breaking away from the previously adhered-to Scholastic-Aristotelian tradition, Descartes is also viewed as one of the major figures in the scientific revolution that was taking place in the 17th century. One of his most ambitious undertakings was the development of a systematic theory of deduction and knowledge based on methodological skepticism that eventually grew into 17th-century European rationalism.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Rene Descartes invent?

    A:

    Rene Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician who invented the Cartesian coordinate system, is considered the father of modern analytical geometry. His work was crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus by Gottfried Liebniz and Isaac Newton.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are two different ways to name a plane?

    A:

    A plane can be regarded as a single letter, written in upper case and in cursive lettering, such as plane Q. It can also be named by identifying three points on the plane that do not form a straight line.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some inventions of Rene Descartes?

    A:

    According to Wichita State University, Rene Descartes invented the Cartesian Plane, which is a theory of using ordered pairs to determine a specific point. This theory, explained in "La Geometrie," led to the invention of analytical geometry in which algebra is applied to geometry.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore