Early Modern Philosophy

René Descartes

What is the story of Descartes’ life?

René Descartes’ (1596–1650) father was a member of the minor nobility. His mother died when he was 13 months old, and after his father remarried he was raised by his maternal grandmother. At 10 he was sent to the new Jesuit college of La Flèche in Anjou, France, and there studied the classics, history, rhetoric, and Aristotelian natural philosophy. Although he considered La Flèche an excellent school, he thought that the natural philosophy he learned there was “doubtful,” mainly because it was based on scholastic abstractions that had been outdated by more recent discoveries and thought.


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