The father of modern philosophy:
Reasons for and against this idea
I think I might have mentioned to you that Descartes is often referred to as the father of modern
philosophy, indicating that he inaugurates a new way of doing philosophy.
I dispute this.
I think there is
good reason for IDing him as the father of modern philosophy, but I think that M is a better choice.
However, there is nothing in M that deals with theory of knowledge.
He deals more with political
philosophy and turns away from the PM’s in this way.
This is an identifying characteristic of modern
philosophy IE turning away from what came before.
Yet, M doesn’t concern himself with theory of
knowledge while D does.
M had the same concern with laying down new foundations (PM’s were too
We see a return for this theme of laying down new foundations in D.
Thus, we will pay some
attention to why D has been thought of as the father of modern philosophy (theme).
Background information about Descartes:
D lived in 1596-1650.
By around 1648, D was the most celebrated philosopher in Europe.
books were read and discussed by Queen Christina.
She invited him to come to the court of Sweden to be
Because D’s writings were so controversial, and he was living in an era in which people were
persecuted for writing unorthodox tenets, he welcomed the idea.
The lessons that he gave began in
This was an especially cold winter, and he was required to give her lessons at 5:00 AM.
health became frail and then caught pneumonia and died.
This work was published in 1637.
He had a
book ready to publish in 1632, but he decided not to publish it, because in 1632 Galileo published the
Dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the World.
This book was an attack on Ptolemy. The two chief
systems referred to Ptolemy’s Almagest which envisioned the earth as the center of the universe and the
Ptolemy’s system held sway until it was replaced by Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo,
who argued that the sun is at the center of the solar system, and that the earth orbits the sun. You can see
what the new system of the world did.
It displaced the earth as the center of the solar system, placed the
earth in motion, and Galileo also discovers that there are more than 7 planets.
The way he did this was
For centuries, Jupiter could be seen by the naked eye.
Around 1607, the telescope was
invented, which revolutionized astronomy, because you could now see things that were not visible before.
Galileo put his telescope on Jupiter and found many new objects on different days.
He then realized that
instead of seven planets, we had 11 or more planets.
In these dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the
World, G had characters speak.
One of the characters was Simplicious who was the stupid guy defending
the old world view of Ptolemy.
The way he argued was the hallmark of how the pope argued (Urban the
What was he thinking?
Maybe he had a death wish.
When the book came into the hands of the