Decartes: The Life of Rene Decartes and Its Place in His Times

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 4, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
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Scientist, mathematician, traveller, soldier -- and spy -- René Descartes has been called the 'father of modern philosophy'. Born in 1596 into an era still dominated by the medieval mindset, he was one of the chief actors in the riveting drama that ushered in the modern world. His life coincided with an extraordinarily significant time in history -- the first half of the miraculous seventeenth century, replete with genius in the arts and sciences, and wracked by civil and international conflicts across Europe. Before his death in 1650 Descartes made immense contributions to an exceptionally wide range of fields and disciplines, and his assertion 'Cogito, ergo sum' ('I think, therefore I am') has become one of the most famous maxims in all philosophy. He was the very archetype of a 'Renaissance man', and yet surprisingly little is known about him. Drawing on new research and his own insights as one of our leading philosophers, A. C. Grayling presents a stunningly accessible and fascinating portrait of the man and the remarkable era in which he lived.
 

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Descartes: The Life and times of a Genius

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Popular critic Grayling (philosophy, Birbeck Coll., Univ. of London;Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan ) provides an accessible ... Read full review

Contents

Who was Descartes?
1
The Awakening
13
A Night of Dreams
49
The Mystery of the Rosy Cross
81
Nine Years of Travel
105
Animals on the Moon
141
Francine
175
The Shape of Snow
183
The Princess of the Passions
227
The Queen of Winter
257
A Note on Descartes Philosophy
277
Biographies of Philosophers
295
Notes
309
Select Bibliography
335
Index
341
Copyright

Descartes Contra Voetius
207

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About the author (2006)

Anthony Clifford "A. C." Grayling is a British philosopher. In 2011 he founded and became the first Master of New College of the Humanities, an independent undergraduate college in London. Until June 2011, he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, where he taught from 1991. Grayling was born and raised in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). After moving to England in his teens, he spent three years at the University of Sussex, but said that although he applauded their intention to educate generalists, he wished to be a scholar, so in addition to his BA from Sussex, he also completed one in philosophy as a University of London external student. He went on to obtain an MA from Sussex, then attended Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was taught by P. F. Strawson and A. J. Ayer, obtaining his doctorate in 1981. He lectured in philosophy at St Anne's College, Oxford, before taking up a post in 1991 at Birkbeck, University of London, where in 1998 he became reader in philosophy.

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