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Life of Rene Descartes

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Born March 31, 1596 in Touraine, France, son of Joachim Descartes a member of the Parliament of Brittany, Rene' Descartes entered into existence with prestige. The baby who would later become known as the "Father of Modern Philosophy" lost his mother Jeanne Brochard Descartes at the age of 1. After his father remarried a woman in Rennes Rene' was sent to be raised by his maternal grandmother in Chatellernaut, he later moved to La Haye where he lived under the care of a great-uncle. Though his living situation changed frequently in his early life, the Roman Catholic faith and the zeal for education were two things that became embedded into the mind of Descartes (Ball1908).

In 1606 Descartes was sent to the Jesuit College at La Fleche. The Jesuit College, founded by Henry IV, trained 1,200 young men at a time to become powerful leaders of the future government. Descartes later would speak highly about the discipline and education he received at Jesuit where he studied the works of Aristotle, science, mathematics, metaphysics, and popular arts of the times (Ball1908).

Rene' Descartes left Jesuit and went to Pointiers in 1614, where he earned a law degree two years later. Having received education at Jesuit and a law degree from Pointiers, Descartes was well on his way to a career of governmental service, only he was too young. Since Descartes would not be eligible to join Parliament until age 27, in 1618 he went to Breda in the Netherlands. In Breda Rene' studied military architecture and mathematics for 15 months. While studying he wrote the Compendium of Music (his earliest recorded work), a work where Descartes' interest in the mathematical and physical elements of music were displayed. He dedicated the Compendium of Music to his friend, physicist Isaac Beckman. Isaac Beckman would then encourage Descartes to consider his studies of science and mathematics. The next year Rene' Descartes would invent analytic geometry (Ball1908).

Analytic geometry is a branch of mathematics that uses two perpendicular lines that cross at the origin (also known as zero or O) to form a graph that has an x-axis, a y-axis, and four quadrants that are used to graph points. The x-axis moves horizontally and the y-axis moves vertically. The axis's are numbered beginning at zero and moving left to right for the x-axis, and up and down for the y-axis. Numbers to the left of the zero are negative and numbers to the right of the zero are positive. For the y-axis any point plotted above zero is positive and anything below the zero is negative. The quadrants are numbered I-IV counterclockwise starting in the top right corner (Geometry 1954).

Cartesian Coordinates, which bare the namesake of Descartes, are used to plot the set of numbers that have arrived as the answer of an algebraic expression. A set of Cartesian Coordinates is made up of two numbers. The first number in the



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