1637 – France
‘Cogito ergo sum‘ – The result of a thought experiment resolving to cast doubt on any and all of his beliefs, in order to discover which he was logically justified in holding.
Descartes argued that although all his experience could be the product of deception by an evil daemon, the demon could not deceive him if he did not exist.
His theory that all knowledge could be gathered in a single, complete science and his pursuit of a system of thought by which this could be achieved left him to speculate on the source and the truth of all existing knowledge. He rejected much of what was commonly accepted and only recognised facts that could intuitively be taken as being beyond any doubt.
His work ‘Meditations on First Philosophy’ (1641) is centered on his famous maxim. From this he would pursue all ‘certainties’ via…
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