René Descartes, father of western philosophy, father of analytic geometry, wise word smith. During his 53 years, this historical household name created the Cartesian co-ordinate system (the bane of many math students), and emboldened the pondering of many philosophical concepts, including forms of dualism, and foundationalism.
Descartes is considered one of the key thinkers that fueled the rationalism of the enlightenment era. Unlike other philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Descartes was of devout faith. He used some of his works to defend Catholicism and the existence of God, as noted in Meditations on First Philosophy.
Despite his efforts, he was accused of atheism by his fellow thinkers and his books were banned by the Catholic Church in the early 1660’s.
After his death, Descartes’ work went on to influence several, if not nearly all modern western thinkers after. John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, Pascal, and Isaac Newton, are among the most notable of those influences.
“Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.”
“Travelling is almost like talking with those of other centuries.”
“I think; therefore I am.”
“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”
“I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.”
“In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate.”
On another note, I found a wonderful joke to accompany this quote compilation:
“Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks him if he wants a drink.
Descartes replies, ‘I don’t think so….’, then he disappears.”
If you have a suggestion for quote of the week, I’d love to hear it! Leave your suggestion in the comments section!
Check back soon for more! Cheers! -MC