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René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye en Touraine. Descartes was a good student, although it is thought that he might have been sickly, since he didn’t have to abide by the school’s rigorous schedule and was instead allowed to rest in bed until midmorning. The subjects he studied, such as rhetoric and logic and the “mathematical arts,” which included music and astronomy, as well as metaphysics, natural philosophy and ethics, equipped him well for his future as a philosopher. Descartes later added theology and medicine to his studies. But he eschewed all this, “resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the World. While elements of his philosophy weren’t completely new, his approach to them was. Descartes believed in basically clearing everything off the table, all preconceived and inherited notions, and starting fresh, putting back one by one the things that were certain, which for him began with the statement “I exist.” From this sprang his most famous quote: “I think; therefore I am.” Descartes had moved to Sweden before at the request of Queen Christina, to be her philosophy tutor. The fragile health indicated in his early life persisted. He was 53 when he passed away. Descartes’ approach of combining mathematics and logic with philosophy to explain the physical world turned metaphysical when confronted with questions of theology; it led him to a contemplation of the nature of existence and the mind-body duality. It also led him to define the idea of dualism: matter meeting non-matter. Because his previous philosophical system had given man the tools to define knowledge of what is true, this concept led to controversy. Fortunately, Descartes himself had also invented methodological skepticism, or Cartesian doubt, thus making philosophers of us all.