conditions were affecting Descartes health. After only four
or five lessons on the 1st of February he was diagnosed with
pneumonia and he passed away on the 11th of February 1650 at the age
In 1663 the pope put his works in the category of prohibited
books, books that contradicted the church, books that he for his own safety he
had not published because he knew that an execution would follow, after what
happened to Galileo.
There are many commonly used works of Descartes we see in
the modern day are for example the Cartesian coordinate system and powers along
with the laws of refraction and inflection and a lot of the science we know
today, this shows the importance of Descartes as we use his work daily.
Perhaps most importantly however as mentioned earlier on,
Descartes spent many days subsequent to his daughters death attempting to set
up a substructure to establish the most fundamental truths about the universe,
he was obsessed with figuring out how to separate what we can know with
certainty from everything else, to achieve this Descartes he took absolutely
everything he thought he knew off the scene and then tried to figure out what
he could put back on it, basically he erased all scientific discoveries since
the beginning of the human existence, this method of philosophical inquiry he
came up with is known as “methodological skeptism” .
discovered was both startling and very frustrating; he couldn’t prove anything
through empiricism, what he figured out was that because we experience the
world entirely through our senses and our senses tend to be unreliable, it’s
actually impossible for us to know anything with certainty, and everything we
think we know is actually composed entirely of differing grounds of belief. Nevertheless
Descartes kept at it and after a while he finally came up with a single fact
that he could unapologetically announce that he knew definitely couldn’t be
doubted by anyone because of its undeniable truth and that was that he existed
, Descartes defended this conclusion with the argument that for him to be
asking any questions about the nature of existence then there must exist
something to actually ask the question or more simply as he would say “cogito
ergo sim – I think therefore I am”.
Some other things he added that he knew with certainty was
the fact “various axioms of geometry” existed, for example that a triangle
always has three sides no matter what beliefs you have it is undeniable. It was
via this argument that Descartes believed that he could prove the existence of god,
that in the same way as his definition of his triangle necessitates the
existence of triangle the definition of god necessitates the existence of god,
this is called the ontological argument.
Descartes also put
forward of Cartesian dualism which supposes that the universe made of two
categorical stuff, the regular matter that you witness daily in a “non-material
substance of the mind and spirit”, he believed that transcendental theories of
matters like a living being possessing a soul were “subject to scientific and
logic inquiry” like everything else. He believed that he located the human soul
inside the brain in the pineal gland.
My opinion concerning the nature of our existence does
naturally accept Descartes’s logical thinking ( I think therefore I am ), but I
would look at the proof of our existence in more a more spiritual way that if
we have a natural path and goal to amount to something in life or even on a
daily or hourly basis, then there must be some mechanism within us that
requires motivation and willingness to sustain or enrich our own existence ,
and that mechanism proves that we exist.