Mind & Body Essay

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Mind, Matter and Descartes "Cogito Ergo Sum," "I think, therefore I am," the epitome of Rene Descartes' logic. Born in 1596 in La Haye, France, Descartes studied at a Jesuit College, where his acquaintance with the rector and childhood frailty allowed him to lead a leisurely lifestyle. This opulence and lack of daily responsibility gave him the liberty to offer his discontentment with both contrived scholasticism, philosophy of the church during the Middle Ages, as well as extreme skepticism, the doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible. Through the most innovative logic since Aristotle's death, as well as application of the sciences, he pursued a lifelong quest for scientific truth. Philosophy is believed to have begun in the sixth century in ancient Greece. In fact, the word "philosophy" is the Greek term for "love of wisdom" (Pojman). After notable minds of the Ancient World such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, by modernist standards, original thinking ceased for many centuries. Throughout the following period, later known as the Middle Ages, the world was dominated by dogma of the Catholic Church. Scholasticism allied with severe punishment for heresy prevented rationalization outside of religion. Descartes was the first to bring philosophy to its "Renaissance" (Strathern 7-9). He questioned the reality of everything, including God. Though he was a devout Catholic, and later proved the existence of God mathematically, he founded and popularized the concept of questioning that which is taught. Descartes' philosophy was an attempt to create a genuine foundation upon which further scientific developments would be established. His devotion to math's methodic nature and invariability lead him to apply these concepts to all other ideas. He hypothesized that "those propositions which one could come to understand completely would be

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