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All of this eventually culminating in a moral system based on the notion of “generosity.” The presentation below provides an overview of Descartes’ philosophical thought as it relates to these various metaphysical, epistemological, religious, moral and scientific issues, covering the wide range of his published works and correspondence.
René Descartes was born to Joachim Descartes and Jeanne Brochard on March 31, 1596 in La Haye, France near Tours.
Once this conclusion is reached, Descartes can proceed to rebuild his system of previously dubious beliefs on this absolutely certain foundation.
These beliefs, which are re-established with absolute certainty, include the existence of a world of bodies external to the mind, the dualistic distinction of the immaterial mind from the body, and his mechanistic model of physics based on the clear and distinct ideas of geometry.
Descartes attempted to address the former issue via his method of doubt.
His basic strategy was to consider false any belief that falls prey to even the slightest doubt.
René Descartes is often credited with being the “Father of Modern Philosophy.” This title is justified due both to his break with the traditional Scholastic-Aristotelian philosophy prevalent at his time and to his development and promotion of the new, mechanistic sciences.
His fundamental break with Scholastic philosophy was twofold.
He eventually discovers that “I exist” is impossible to doubt and is, therefore, absolutely certain.
His sister, Jeanne, was probably born sometime the following year, while his surviving older brother, also named Pierre, was born on October 19, 1591.
The Descartes clan was a bourgeois family composed of mostly doctors and some lawyers.
This “hyperbolic doubt” then serves to clear the way for what Descartes considers to be an unprejudiced search for the truth.
This clearing of his previously held beliefs then puts him at an epistemological ground-zero.
Joachim Descartes fell into this latter category and spent most of his career as a member of the provincial parliament.