By calling everything into doubt, Descartes laid the foundations of modern philosophy. With the celebrated words "I think therefore I am," his compelling argument swept aside ancient and medieval traditions. He deduced that human beings consist of minds and bodies; that these are totally distinct "substances"; that God exists and that He ensures we can trust the evidence of our senses. Ushering in the "scientific revolution" of Galileo and Newton, his ideas have set the agenda for debate ever since. His philosophical methods and investigation changed the course of Western philosophy and led to or transformed the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, physics and mathematics, political theory and ethics.
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