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Descartes: René Descartes, the seventeenth-century philosopher, mathematician, and physicist, has the reputation of being the "Father of Modern Philosophy." Possibly most renowned for his conclusion "I think, therefore I am," Descartes approached philosophy without assumptions based on the material world. This step rejected the former norm and explored the "non-physical" apart from the "physical," the mind independent of the uncertain world our senses deliver us. The result was a more precise articulation of what would become the Dualism school of thought within the Philosophy of Mind, which posits that the mind and body are separate entities.

In "Signs of the Times," Carlyle wants individual thinkers, people who reject contemporary beliefs and who dare to construct revolutionary works and methods. Too often now, he says, society relies on "the agencies of Wisdom [to] swarm of their own accord" to the numerous, posing institutions and bear fruit. But the bureaucracy of these machine institutions hinders the creativity and individuality necessary for discoveries and formulations on the level of those by Descartes or Newton.


Descartes, René. Meditations on First Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

"Rene Descartes." Wikipedia. Viewed March 23, 2010.

Last modified 25 March 2010