Map your history, make new connections and gain insights for family, local or special interest projects

René Descartes the father of modern philosophy

René Descartes the father of modern philosophy

René Descartes (1596–1650) is widely regarded as the father of modern philosophy and starts the period of Enlightenment:

  • His noteworthy contributions extend to mathematics and physics as well as philosophy.
  • In essence his central approach was that anything that was doubtful should be dismissed as truth,  he has to accept he exists, and hence therefore I am…
  • Originator of Cartesian coordinate system
  • The Descartes clan was a bourgeois family composed of mostly doctors and some lawyers.
  • During 1615-1616 he received a degree and a license in civil and canon law at the University of Poiters.
  • He died 11 February 1650 (aged 53) whilst working for the Queen of Sweden in Stockholm having caught Pneumonia

Frequently quoted across philosophical debate:

“Thus, all Philosophy is like a tree, of which Metaphysics is the root, Physics the trunk, and all the other sciences the branches that grow out of this trunk, which are reduced to three principal, namely, Medicine, Mechanics, and Ethics. By the science of Morals, I understand the highest and most perfect which, presupposing an entire knowledge of the other sciences, is the last degree of wisdom.”