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René Descartes was born in La Haye (France) in 1596 and died in Stockholm (Sweden) in 1649. From an aristocratic and honorable family, a physicist, he is also the philosopher who created Analytical Geometry and modern Mathematics. “The mathematical method is the only sure way to the discovery of truth,” he wrote by way of useful teaching.

He was a disciple of the Jesuits in La Flèche de Anjou, like Corneille and Voltaire. From his stay in La Flèche, where he remained until 1614, comes his attraction and interest in mathematics. In Poitiers he studied Civil and Canon Law.

He had a military career for 10 years. He lived in adventure and extreme danger. He even fought a duel. The founder of modern rationalist philosophy.

He said that the mathematical method is the only sure path to the discovery of truth. He looked for causes and meanings to reach truths beyond all question. For this reason he implemented methodical doubt as a method to reach scientific truth.

He was also famous for reducing natural phenomena to mathematical laws, the only ones that appeared to him as indubitable. Of the rest he only found a single truth, that of him as a thinking subject, which showed him that he existed: “I think, therefore I am.”

He left his mark on the thoughts of Spinoza, Leibniz and Kant. The Discourse on Method and Provisional Morals are great contributions. He establishes a clear break with the scholasticism that was taught in universities.

With his philosophy, he contributed his conception of man as being capable of apprehending with reason the intimate structure of himself and the world and referring this knowledge to the construction of the “regnum hominis.” He realized his maxim “read in the book of nature and live before philosophizing.” Later, he retired to the countryside to write and tend his garden.

The Discourse on Method opens with a famous phrase from Montaigne, “good sense is the best distributed thing in the world.” He adds, “everyone thinks they are well endowed with it, that even those who are usually difficult to please do not want more common sense than they already possess.”

The Method proposed by Descartes is based on four rules:

His “je pense, donc je suis” (I think, therefore I am) is the basis of Western rationalism. He considers it to be the first principle of the philosophy he was looking for. There are evident traces of Greek philosophical thought.

“I must change my desires before I change the world.” Provisional morality is a practical morality that adapts to the circumstances and needs of life, without attempting to impose dogmas or absolute truths. It is a rational morality, which is based on the use of reason and method, and which seeks clarity and evidence in moral decisions.

Descartes advocates a morality of dominating desires through an important exercise of understanding in order to morally understand things. This effort allows us to see that the world does not provide us with all our satisfaction.

The three rules are:

* Obey the laws and customs of one’s own country, preserving the religion practiced in childhood.

* Be as firm and resolute in one’s actions and follow the opinions adopted as if they had been true.

* Strive to change one’s own desires more than the order of the world and get used to believing that “nothing is entirely in our power outside of our thoughts.”

He recommends continuing to spend my entire life cultivating my reason and progressing as much as possible in the knowledge of the truth following the method of evidence that is the basis of philosophy.