René Descartes quotes
Birthdate: 31. March 1596
Date of death: 11. February 1650
René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Dubbed the father of modern western philosophy, much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. He is generally considered one of the most notable intellectual representatives of the Dutch Golden Age.
Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes's influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution.
Descartes refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers. He frequently set his views apart from those of his predecessors. In the opening section of the Les passions de l'âme, a treatise on the early modern version of what are now commonly called emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before". His best known philosophical statement is "Cogito ergo sum" , found in part IV of Discours de la méthode and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy .
Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differed from the schools on two major points: first, he rejected the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejected any appeal to final ends, divine or natural, in explaining natural phenomena. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation.
Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well-versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well.
Quotes René Descartes
„No doubt you know that Galileo had been convicted not long ago by the Inquisition, and that his opinion on the movement of the Earth had been condemned as heresy. Now I will tell you that all things I explain in my treatise, among which is also that same opinion about the movement of the Earth, all depend on one another, and are based upon certain evident truths. Nevertheless, I will not for the world stand up against the authority of the Church. …I have the desire to live in peace and to continue on the road on which I have started.“
Letter to Marin Mersenne (end of Feb., 1634) as quoted by Amir Aczel, Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science (2003)
„Thus, all unknown quantities can be expressed in terms of a single quantity, whenever the problem can be constructed by means of circles and straight lines, or by conic sections, or even by some other curve of degree not greater than the third or fourth.
But I shall not stop to explain this in more detail, because I should deprive you of the pleasure of mastering it yourself, as well as of the advantage of training your mind by working over it, which is in my opinion the principal benefit to be derived from this science. Because, I find nothing here so difficult that it cannot be worked out by anyone at all familiar with ordinary geometry and with algebra, who will consider carefully all that is set forth in this treatise.“
La Géométrie (1637)
„With me, everything turns into mathematics.
More closely translated as: but in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.“
""Mais"" is French for ""but"" and the ""but in my opinion"" comes from the context of the original conversation. apud me omnia fiunt Mathematicè in Natura is in latin.
Sometimes the Latin version is incorrectly quoted as Omnia apud me mathematica fiunt.
Sources: Correspondence with Mersenne http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Page%3aDescartes_-_%C5%92uvres,_%C3%A9d._Adam_et_Tannery,_III.djvu/48 note for line 7 (1640), page 36, Die Wiener Zeit http://books.google.com/books?id=9Xh3fVZLCycC&pg=PA532&lpg=PA532&dq=%22Omnia+apud+me+mathematica+fiunt%22+original+zitat&source=bl&ots=CgQOrveRiM&sig=WFHwIK20r5vRZ66FwCaxo857LCU&hl=de&sa=X&ei=_Wf2UcHlJYbfsgaf1IHABg#v=onepage&q=%22Omnia%20apud%20me%20mathematica%20fiunt%22%20original%20zitat&f=false page 532 (2008); StackExchange Math Q/A Where did Descartes write... http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/454599/where-did-descartes-write-with-me-everything-turns-into-mathematics?noredirect=1#comment978229_454599
Original: (la) Mais apud me omnia fiunt Mathematicè in Natura