Rene Descartes биография На Английском

René Descartes Biography

Philosopher and mathematician René Descartes is regarded as the father of modern philosophy for defining a starting point for existence, “I think; therefore I am.”


René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye en Touraine, France. He was extensively educated, first at a Jesuit college at age 8, then earning a law degree at 22, but an influential teacher set him on a course to apply mathematics and logic to understanding the natural world. This approach incorporated the contemplation of the nature of existence and of knowledge itself, hence his most famous observation, “I think; therefore I am.”

Early Life

Philosopher René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye en Touraine, a small town in central France, which has since been renamed after him to honor its most famous son. He was the youngest of three children, and his mother, Jeanne Brochard, died within his first year of life. His father, Joachim, a council member in the provincial parliament, sent the children to live with their maternal grandmother, where they remained even after he remarried a few years later. But he was very concerned with good education and sent René, at age 8, to boarding school at the Jesuit college of Henri IV in La Flèche, several miles to the north, for seven years.

Descartes was a good student, although it is thought that he might have been sickly, since he didn’t have to abide by the school’s rigorous schedule and was instead allowed to rest in bed until midmorning. The subjects he studied, such as rhetoric and logic and the “mathematical arts,” which included music and astronomy, as well as metaphysics, natural philosophy and ethics, equipped him well for his future as a philosopher. So did spending the next four years earning a baccalaureate in law at the University of Poitiers. Some scholars speculate that he may have had a nervous breakdown during this time.

Descartes later added theology and medicine to his studies. But he eschewed all this, “resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world,” he wrote much later in Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences, published in 1637.

So he traveled, joined the army for a brief time, saw some battles and was introduced to Dutch scientist and philosopher Isaac Beeckman, who would become for Descartes a very influential teacher. A year after graduating from Poitiers, Descartes credited a series of three very powerful dreams or visions with determining the course of his study for the rest of his life.

Becoming the Father of Modern Philosophy

Descartes is considered by many to be the father of modern philosophy, because his ideas departed widely from current understanding in the early 17th century, which was more feeling-based. While elements of his philosophy weren’t completely new, his approach to them was. Descartes believed in basically clearing everything off the table, all preconceived and inherited notions, and starting fresh, putting back one by one the things that were certain, which for him began with the statement “I exist.” From this sprang his most famous quote: “I think; therefore I am.”

Since Descartes believed that all truths were ultimately linked, he sought to uncover the meaning of the natural world with a rational approach, through science and mathematics—in some ways an extension of the approach Sir Francis Bacon had asserted in England a few decades prior. In addition to Discourse on the Method, Descartes also published Meditations on First Philosophy and Principles of Philosophy, among other treatises.

Although philosophy is largely where the 20th century deposited Descartes—each century has focused on different aspects of his work—his investigations in theoretical physics led many scholars to consider him a mathematician first. He introduced Cartesian geometry, which incorporates algebra; through his laws of refraction, he developed an empirical understanding of rainbows; and he proposed a naturalistic account of the formation of the solar system, although he felt he had to suppress much of that due to Galileo’s fate at the hands of the Inquisition. His concern wasn’t misplaced—Pope Alexander VII later added Descartes’ works to the Index of Prohibited Books.

Later Life, Death and Legacy

Descartes never married, but he did have a daughter, Francine, born in the Netherlands in 1635. He had moved to that country in 1628 because life in France was too bustling for him to concentrate on his work, and Francine’s mother was a maid in the home where he was staying. He had planned to have the little girl educated in France, having arranged for her to live with relatives, but she died of a fever at age 5.

Descartes lived in the Netherlands for more than 20 years but died in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 11, 1650. He had moved there less than a year before, at the request of Queen Christina, to be her philosophy tutor. The fragile health indicated in his early life persisted. He habitually spent mornings in bed, where he continued to honor his dream life, incorporating it into his waking methodologies in conscious meditation, but the queen’s insistence on 5 am lessons led to a bout of pneumonia from which he could not recover. He was 53.

Sweden was a Protestant country, so Descartes, a Catholic, was buried in a graveyard primarily for unbaptized babies. Later, his remains were taken to the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest church in Paris. They were moved during the French Revolution, and were put back later—although urban legend has it that only his heart is there and the rest is buried in the Panthéon.

Descartes’ approach of combining mathematics and logic with philosophy to explain the physical world turned metaphysical when confronted with questions of theology; it led him to a contemplation of the nature of existence and the mind-body duality, identifying the point of contact for the body with the soul at the pineal gland. It also led him to define the idea of dualism: matter meeting non-matter. Because his previous philosophical system had given man the tools to define knowledge of what is true, this concept led to controversy. Fortunately, Descartes himself had also invented methodological skepticism, or Cartesian doubt, thus making philosophers of us all.

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René Descartes

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René Descartes was a French mathematician and philosopher during the 17th century. He is often considered a precursor to the rationalist school of thought, and his vast contributions to the fields of mathematics and philosophy, individually as well as holistically, helped pushed Western knowledge forward during the scientific revolution.

René Descartes is most commonly known for his philosophical statement, “I think, therefore I am” (originally in French, but best known by its Latin translation: «Cogito, ergo sum”). He is also attributed with developing Cartesian dualism (also referred to as mind-body dualism), the metaphysical argument that the mind and body are two different substances which interact with one another. In the mathematics sphere, his primary contribution came from bridging the gap between algebra and geometry, which resulted in the Cartesian coordinate system still widely used today.

René Descartes was born in 1596 in La Hay en Touraine, France, to Joachim and Jeanne Descartes. Jeanne died shortly after Descartes turned one. Descartes was thought to have been fairly ill throughout his childhood. He and his siblings were raised by their grandmother, while Joachim was busy elsewhere with work and as a council member in the provincial parliament. Descartes never married, but he fathered a child in 1635 with Helena Jans van der Strom. The child, named Francine, died at age five of scarlet fever.

René Descartes died on February 11, 1650, in Stockholm, Sweden, succumbing to pneumonia at the age of 53. He was in Stockholm at the time to help the queen of Sweden set up an academy of science. Queen Christina, only 22 years old, made Descartes rise before 5:00 AM for her daily lesson—something which proved detrimental to his health, as he was used to sleeping late since childhood to accommodate his sickly nature. One morning, likely as a result of this early rising, combined with the freezing Swedish winters, Descartes caught a chill that proved to be fatal.

René Descartes, (born March 31, 1596, La Haye, Touraine, France—died February 11, 1650, Stockholm, Sweden), French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. Because he was one of the first to abandon Scholastic Aristotelianism, because he formulated the first modern version of mind-body dualism, from which stems the mind-body problem, and because he promoted the development of a new science grounded in observation and experiment, he is generally regarded as the founder of modern philosophy. Applying an original system of methodical doubt, he dismissed apparent knowledge derived from authority, the senses, and reason and erected new epistemic foundations on the basis of the intuition that, when he is thinking, he exists; this he expressed in the dictum “I think, therefore I am” (best known in its Latin formulation, “ Cogito, ergo sum,” though originally written in French, “Je pense, donc je suis”). He developed a metaphysical dualism that distinguishes radically between mind, the essence of which is thinking, and matter, the essence of which is extension in three dimensions. Descartes’s metaphysics is rationalist, based on the postulation of innate ideas of mind, matter, and God, but his physics and physiology, based on sensory experience, are mechanistic and empiricist.

Early life and education

Although Descartes’s birthplace, La Haye (now Descartes), France, is in Touraine, his family connections lie south, across the Creuse River in Poitou, where his father, Joachim, owned farms and houses in Châtellerault and Poitiers. Because Joachim was a councillor in the Parlement of Brittany in Rennes, Descartes inherited a modest rank of nobility. Descartes’s mother died when he was one year old. His father remarried in Rennes, leaving him in La Haye to be raised first by his maternal grandmother and then by his great-uncle in Châtellerault. Although the Descartes family was Roman Catholic, the Poitou region was controlled by the Protestant Huguenots, and Châtellerault, a Protestant stronghold, was the site of negotiations over the Edict of Nantes (1598), which gave Protestants freedom of worship in France following the intermittent Wars of Religion between Protestant and Catholic forces in France. Descartes returned to Poitou regularly until 1628.

In 1606 Descartes was sent to the Jesuit college at La Flèche, established in 1604 by Henry IV (reigned 1589–1610). At La Flèche, 1,200 young men were trained for careers in military engineering, the judiciary, and government administration. In addition to classical studies, science, mathematics, and metaphysics—Aristotle was taught from Scholastic commentaries—they studied acting, music, poetry, dancing, riding, and fencing. In 1610 Descartes participated in an imposing ceremony in which the heart of Henry IV, whose assassination that year had destroyed the hope of religious tolerance in France and Germany, was placed in the cathedral at La Flèche.

In 1614 Descartes went to Poitiers, where he took a law degree in 1616. At this time, Huguenot Poitiers was in virtual revolt against the young King Louis XIII (reigned 1610–43). Descartes’s father probably expected him to enter Parlement, but the minimum age for doing so was 27, and Descartes was only 20. In 1618 he went to Breda in the Netherlands, where he spent 15 months as an informal student of mathematics and military architecture in the peacetime army of the Protestant stadtholder, Prince Maurice (ruled 1585–1625). In Breda, Descartes was encouraged in his studies of science and mathematics by the physicist Isaac Beeckman (1588–1637), for whom he wrote the Compendium of Music (written 1618, published 1650), his first surviving work.

Descartes spent the period 1619 to 1628 traveling in northern and southern Europe, where, as he later explained, he studied “the book of the world.” While in Bohemia in 1619, he invented analytic geometry, a method of solving geometric problems algebraically and algebraic problems geometrically. He also devised a universal method of deductive reasoning, based on mathematics, that is applicable to all the sciences. This method, which he later formulated in Discourse on Method (1637) and Rules for the Direction of the Mind (written by 1628 but not published until 1701), consists of four rules: (1) accept nothing as true that is not self-evident, (2) divide problems into their simplest parts, (3) solve problems by proceeding from simple to complex, and (4) recheck the reasoning. These rules are a direct application of mathematical procedures. In addition, Descartes insisted that all key notions and the limits of each problem must be clearly defined.

Descartes also investigated reports of esoteric knowledge, such as the claims of the practitioners of theosophy to be able to command nature. Although disappointed with the followers of the Catalan mystic Ramon Llull (1232/33–1315/16) and the German alchemist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486–1535), he was impressed by the German mathematician Johann Faulhaber (1580–1635), a member of the mystical society of the Rosicrucians.

Descartes shared a number of Rosicrucian goals and habits. Like the Rosicrucians, he lived alone and in seclusion, changed his residence often (during his 22 years in the Netherlands, he lived in 18 different places), practiced medicine without charge, attempted to increase human longevity, and took an optimistic view of the capacity of science to improve the human condition. At the end of his life, he left a chest of personal papers (none of which has survived) with a Rosicrucian physician—his close friend Corneille van Hogelande, who handled his affairs in the Netherlands. Despite these affinities, Descartes rejected the Rosicrucians’ magical and mystical beliefs. For him, this period was a time of hope for a revolution in science. The English philosopher Francis Bacon (1561–1626), in Advancement of Learning (1605), had earlier proposed a new science of observation and experiment to replace the traditional Aristotelian science, as Descartes himself did later.

In 1622 Descartes moved to Paris. There he gambled, rode, fenced, and went to the court, concerts, and the theatre. Among his friends were the poets Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac (1597–1654), who dedicated his Le Socrate chrétien (1652; “Christian Socrates”) to Descartes, and Théophile de Viau (1590–1626), who was burned in effigy and imprisoned in 1623 for writing verses mocking religious themes. Descartes also befriended the mathematician Claude Mydorge (1585–1647) and Father Marin Mersenne (1588–1648), a person of universal learning who corresponded with hundreds of scholars, writers, mathematicians, and scientists and who became Descartes’s main contact with the larger intellectual world. During this time Descartes regularly hid from his friends to work, writing treatises, now lost, on fencing and metals. He acquired a considerable reputation long before he published anything.

At a talk in 1628, Descartes denied the alchemist Chandoux’s claim that probabilities are as good as certainties in science and demonstrated his own method for attaining certainty. The Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575–1629)—who had founded the Oratorian teaching congregation in 1611 as a rival to the Jesuits—was present at the talk. Many commentators speculate that Bérulle urged Descartes to write a metaphysics based on the philosophy of St. Augustine as a replacement for Jesuit teaching. Be that as it may, within weeks Descartes left for the Netherlands, which was Protestant, and—taking great precautions to conceal his address—did not return to France for 16 years. Some scholars claim that Descartes adopted Bérulle as director of his conscience, but this is unlikely, given Descartes’s background and beliefs (he came from a Huguenot province, he was not a Catholic enthusiast, he had been accused of being a Rosicrucian, and he advocated religious tolerance and championed the use of reason).

Rene Descartes / Рене Декарт (текст на английском с переводом, звуковая версия)

Also known by his Latin name
Известный также под своим латинским именем

Renatius Cartesius,

Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician.
Рене Декарт был французским философом и математиком.

He wrote some works in Latin,
Он написал несколько работ на латинском языке,

but broke with philosophical tradition
но порвал с этой философской традицией

by writing in his native language as well.
и стал писать также и на родном языке.

He lived and worked in many different European countries.
Он жил и работал во многих европейских странах.

Descartes developed the science of geometry
Декарт развил науку геометрию

into the discipline that most schoolchildren know today.
в такую дисциплину, которую сейчас знают многие школьники.

He also invented the system of powers
Он также разработал систему степеней

and created symbols for graphs
и создал символы для графиков,

– the Cartesian coordinate system.
так называемую картезианскую систему координат.

He is generally accepted to be the father of modern Western philosophy,
Он получил всеобщее признание как отец современной западной философии,

coining the famous phrase
являясь автором знаменитой фразы

«Cogito ergo sum»
«Cogito ergo sum»

(«I think therefore I am»).
(«Я мыслю, значит существую»).

Словарь к тексту

accept (accepted; accepted) – признавать, принимать, допускать;
as well – с таким же успехом; также, тоже

break (broke; broken) – порывать; прерываться

coin (coined; coined) – создавать новые слова, выражения

develop (developed; developed) – развивать, совершенствовать; излагать; раскрывать
different – различный, разный

famous – знаменитый, известный, прославленный

graph – график, диаграмма, схема

invent (invented; invented) – изобретать, создавать, выдвигать что–л. новое

power – степень, показатель степени

therefore – поэтому, следовательно