He was not only a philosopher but also a distinguished scientist. Born Rene Descartes (romanized form Kartezy) in the town of Lae (France) in an ancient noble family, studied at the Jesuit college of La Flèche, where the teaching was very qualified. There he is seriously interested in the sciences and philosophy. In 1618, voluntarily joined the army of the Protestants who fought for the liberation of the Netherlands from the Spanish-Austrian invaders. However, in autumn next year was a consistent and hard to develop the basis of the scientific method of cognition. Traveled to Italy, he lived in Paris, in 1628 he moved to Holland, where he wrote his main works. At the invitation of the Queen of Sweden in 1649 came to Stockholm, where he soon died of cold. All of his life in adulthood was devoted to the knowledge of nature and man. His main works: "Geometry," Discourse on Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, "" Beginning of Philosophy, on compassionate state of mind.
Descartes, arguing "On the foundations of human knowledge" (the so-called first part of his "Elements of Philosophy), stated:" For finding the truth should be once in a lifetime, as far as possible, put everything into question.
" And then it will be rejected by all - heaven, earth, God, even your own body, except for a single: its existence, because our very idea of the doubt certainly real. "Conclusion: I think, therefore I exist is true, is the first and surest of all opinions."
As recognized by Descartes, "I was born with the mind that the main pleasure in scientific sessions for me was not so much that I listened to the opinions of others, and that I wanted to create their own". A person with such tendencies, of course, came to the formulation given above, on the basis of self-discovery. Although this principle is in doubt: after all, self-knowledge can be of any object, say, a disembodied spirit, so that no less secure another criterion: "I think, therefore I exist."
The transition from clear across to the only reliable statement - the first step. Second rule: we must mentally divide the object or problem to very simple elements, exploring them in detail. Third: from the simplest elementary parts should be step by step to move to an increasingly complex. Hence, the mathematics and mechanics, "who only talk about things simplest and most common, and a little worried about whether there are things in nature or not, have something significant and undeniable."
Scientific knowledge, according to Descartes, requires an analytical approach, limiting the full collection of facts and their classification.
It turns out something like an assembly of mechanical devices from small parts, which are first specifically scattered more or less randomly. At the same mathematical precision and certainty to become one of the important criteria of truth.
Descartes was a great mathematician, one of the founders of modern algebra and analytic geometry, one of the creators of mechanics and optics. In addition, he studied anatomy and physiology, studied the blood flow and hypothesized mechanism of response to stimulation of the body, making the first step towards the theory of Pavlovian reflexes. His studies of natural objects were selective, since it is intuitively felt, where his method is most effective. For example, in Part 4 of his treatise "Beginning of Philosophy" ("On land") he wrote: "So far I have described the earth and all the visible world in general similar to the mechanism, which should be considered only an outline and movement."
Strangely, he did not seem to notice any of geological objects and phenomena, nor the interaction of living organisms, and anything else that can not be explained on the basis of the mechanistic worldview.
No coincidence of the basic sciences, he singled out only three - medicine, mechanics, and ethics, which generalizes the theory of knowledge called "universal mathematics" He would call the nature of the "great books of the world," but was confident that its alphabet is a mathematician. According to him, the world is completely knowable, except, perhaps indefinitely.
God appears in Descartes is not so much the ruler of the world as the Creator of matter, giving it an initial dynamic momentum and determine the law of life. Thinker explained: "By the word" God "I mean a substance infinite, eternal, unchanging, independent, omniscient, created and gave rise to me and all other existing things ... These advantages are so great and sublime, that the more attentively I consider them to however it seems likely to me that this idea can lead originated from myself. "
Descartes sharply shared material, corporeal substance, having a length (an empty space, he denied, suggesting the presence everywhere of a hyperfine matter), and spiritual, possessing the ability to think.
Their harmonious relationship is defined divine will. In this sense we can interpret the Cartesian "I think, therefore, there are" a manifestation of God in man. Similarly, apparently due to Descartes' assertion of the existence of innate ideas. In contrast, Francis Bacon, he came from a harmonious match man-the microcosm and the cosmos. This idea is certainly not new and is not indisputable, but attractive.