5 things you didn’t know about Descartes
All facts below are taken from Oxford Reference Online:
- Descartes enlisted at his own expense in the Prince of
Orange, Maurice of Nassau’s army, in order to have the leisure to think.
- While shut away in a stove-heated room in Ulm, Germany,
Descartes experienced a vision which he took for divine revelation of his work
in life – the unfolding of a scientia
mirabilis, or wonderful science. His interest in the methodology of a
unified science is supposed to have begun with this vision.
- In 1620, Descartes was present at in the
Battle of the White Mountain outside Prague, serving under Maximilian, Duke of
- Descartes’s The
World offered a mechanistic account of the universe (a heliocentric system)
and of human beings, their bodily motions, and sensations. The work was
completed by 1633, but Descartes abandoned publication on hearing of Galileo’s
condemnation by the church.
- On his death in 1650, Descartes’ last words are said to
have been ‘Ça, mon âme, il faut partir’ (‘So,
my soul, it is time to part’).
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Image credit: “Portrait of René Descartes” by Frans Hals, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.