The 18th century was filled with Enlightenment philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, each contributing to the way our world thinks today. The Enlightenment prompted society to part from the ancient views of superstition and traditionalism, and transition to basing findings and concept on reason and logic. Each of the brilliant minds contributed to the worldly movement, their purpose was to reform society by challenging ideas that were grounded firmly in faith, emphasize reason and intelligence, and to advance knowledge through science and the arts. This stirred debate and completely reshaped our world’s perception of the universe, it questioned the existence of our world and what we were meant to evolve to. This mass circulation of thought would significantly affect historical events to come, such as the American and French Revolution, whose bases for government was influenced by thinkers such as Montesquieu, and his idea about the balance of power between the three branches of government, as well as Rousseau’s idea about the power of democracy and the consent of the people. Three such Enlightenment philosophes were John Locke, Rene Descartes, and Jean-Jacque Rousseau. Each of these men generally agreed that most human failure and suffering was a result of mindlessly following tradition and superstition that was fed to them by leaders of the church and state. They believed that humankind could improve itself greatly, and that Enlightenment values of reason and humanity could achieve it. The first step was to free thinking itself-to escape the darkness of the past to the light of reason.
René Descartes- the Father of Modern Philosophy
"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."– René Descartes
René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye, a small town in central France. He was the youngest of three children, and his mother, Jeanne Brochard, unfortunately died within the first year of his life. Descartes father Joachim, a council member in the provincial parliament, sent his children to live with their grandmother. He was concerned with his children receiving a good education, so Jaochim sent René to boarding school at the Jesuit college of Henri IV in La Flèche, several miles to the north, at 8 years old for seven years. There Descartes learnt a great deal of subjects, such as metaphysics, natural philosophy, ethics, and the mathematical arts. He spent the next four years earning a baccalaureate in law at the University of Poitiers, expanding his academic portfolio with theology and medicine. On this enlargement, he revealed that he eschewed all this, only instead he decided in “resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world.” In 1618, at the age of twenty-two, he enlisted in the army of Prince Maurice of Nassau, and there he met a Dutch scientist named Isaac...