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Descartes was born in 1596 in Touraine, France. His education consisted of attendance to a Jesuit school of La Fleche. He studied a liberal arts program that emphasized philosophy, the humanities, science, and math. He then went on to the University of Poitiers where he graduated in 1616 with a law degree. Descartes also served as a volunteer in several different armies to broaden his horizons.
After all of Descartes study and contemplation of math and science, he decided to find a single principle without doubt on which to build knowledge. His purpose in life became the development of a metaphysical theory that would prove the mathematical truth he had found. His analytical system of doubt led him to doubt everything in the world. He finally reached the conclusion that everything can be doubted except for one thing, his own existence. Even this was called into doubt and found true. Descartes rationalized that by doubting his own existence, he was thinking. If he was thinking, then he must exist. Then he contemplated whether he was awake or asleep. If he was asleep, then he was dreaming that he was thinking and therefore not existing. He decided that one could use sense perception to realize if one was awake of asleep. Finally he concluded, “I think, therefore I am.” This became the basis for his entire system of beliefs. Descartes argument for existence was called “cogito ergo sum.” All of Descartes philosophical arguments were made by analytical means. He deduced the conclusion.
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