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1649 Rene Descartes portrait philosopher

1649 Rene Descartes portrait philosopher

C008/7961

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50.0 MB (3.5 MB compressed)

3730 x 4685 pixels

31.5 x 39.6 cm ⏐ 12.4 x 15.6 in (300dpi)

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Rene Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher (31st March 1596 - 11 February 1650). Steel engraving in "The Gallery of Portraits" by W. Holl with later colouring after an original by Frans Hals 1649. Descartes created co-ordinate geometry, a bridge between algebra and geometry, now known as Cartesian geometry. He is considered a founding father of modern philosophy, famous for his statement "Cogito ergo sum" - "I think, therefore I am" (from his 'Discourses on the Method' 1637). He also concluded that as animals are not rational (or can be explained such) they can parsimoniously be considered as machines. As a rationalist philosopher he is regarded as the first to provide a philosophical basis for the Life Sciences by methodological scepticism. He was later opposed by empiricist philosophers, also influential in the life sciences, such as Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes and Hume.

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