René Descartes

You are either a Spinozist or not a Philosopher at all

You are either a Spinozist or not a Philosopher at all

On November 24, 1632, Jewish-Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin Baruch Spinoza was born. By laying the groundwork for the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, Spinoza came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. “Beauty, my dear Sir, is not so much a quality of the object beheld, as an effect in him who beholds it. If our sight…
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How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

On August 16, 1705, Swiss mathematician Jakob Bernoulli passed away. The Swiss Bernoulli family is well known for their many offsprings who gained prominent merits in mathematics and physics in the 18th century. Jakob Bernoulli, born in 1654 (or 1655 according to the new Gregorian calendar), is best known for his work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture). In this work, published 8 years after his death in 1713 by his nephew Nicholas,…
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Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the German Idealism

Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the German Idealism

On May 19, 1762, German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte was born. Fichte was one of the founding figures of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kant. Thus, Fichte often is regarded as a bridging figure between Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Like Descartes and Kant before him, he was motivated by the problem of subjectivity and consciousness. Maybe you have never…
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You Don’t Exist. – says David Hume

You Don’t Exist. – says David Hume

On May 7, 1711, the great Philosopher David Hume was born. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy as well as the Scottish Enlightenment. In his ‘Treatise of Human Nature‘ (1739), he was about to create a total naturalistic “science of man” examining the psychological basis of human nature. In stark to Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governed human behavior: “Reason is,…
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Cogito Ergo Sum – The Philosophy of René Descartes

Cogito Ergo Sum – The Philosophy of René Descartes

On March 31, 1596, French philosopher, mathematician, and writer René Descartes was born. The Cartesian coordinate system is named after him, allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two-dimensional coordinate system. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis.…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Between October 20 and October 29, 1711, Italian physicist and academic Laura Maria Caterina Bassi was born. Bassi is referred to as being the first woman to earn a professorship in physics at a university in Europe and is recognized as the first woman in the world to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies. She contributed immensely to the field of science while also helping to spread the…
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Nicolas Malebranche’s Dualism of Religion and Science

Nicolas Malebranche’s Dualism of Religion and Science

On August 6, 1638, French priest and rationalist philosopher Nicolas Malebranche was born. Malebranche sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world. Malebranche is best known for his doctrines of Vision in God, Occasionalism and Ontologism. “I am not my own light unto myself.” – Nicholas Malebranche, Dialogues on Metaphysics (1688) Family Background and Education Malebranche’s father…
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William Brouncker’s Approximation of Pi

William Brouncker’s Approximation of Pi

On April 5, 1684, English mathematician William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker passed away. Brouncker introduced Brouncker‘s formula, a development of 4/π in a generalized continued fraction, and was the first President of the Royal Society. £1200 for a Peerage Brouncker was born in Castlelyons, County Cork, the elder son of William Brouncker, 1st Viscount Brouncker and Winifred, daughter of Sir William Leigh of Newnham. His father was created a Viscount in the…
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Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

On February 23, 1603, French mathematician François Viète passed away. Viète‘s work on a  algebra was an important step towards modern algebra, due to its innovative use of letters as parameters in equations. He was a lawyer by trade, and served as a privy councillor to both Henry III and Henry IV. Francois Viète – Early Years Vieta was born at Fontenay-le-Comte, in western France about 50 km east of the coastal town of…
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