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René Descartes

Portrait after [[Frans Hals]]{{refn|Although the uncertain authorship of this most iconic portrait of Descartes was traditionally attributed to Frans Hals, there is no record of their meeting. During the 20th century the assumption was widely challenged.<ref>[[Steven Nadler|Nadler, S.]], ''The Philosopher, The Priest, and The Painter'' (Princeton: [[Princeton University Press]], 2013), [ p. 83].</ref>|group=n}} René Descartes (, also }, ; Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: ''Cartesian'' ; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–1649) 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. One of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age, Descartes is also widely regarded as one of the founders of modern philosophy.

Many elements of Descartes' 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. Refusing to accept the authority of previous philosophers, Descartes frequently set his views apart from the philosophers who preceded him. In the opening section of the ''Passions of the Soul'', an early modern treatise on 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 "I think, therefore I am" (; ), found in ''Discourse on the Method'' (1637; written in French and Latin) and ''Principles of Philosophy'' (1644; written in Latin).

Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Spinoza and Leibniz, and was later opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Provided by Wikipedia
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