Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the “Father of Modem Philosophy”，and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes’ influence in mathematics is equally apparent. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution.
Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes), Indre-et-Loire, France. When he was one year old, his mother died. His father was a member in the provincial parliament. At the age of eight, he entered the Jesuit College Royal Henry-Le-Grand at La Fleche. After graduation, he studied at the University of Poitiers, earning a Baccalaureat and Licence in law in 1616，in accordance with his father’s wishes that he should become a lawyer.
笛卡儿生于法国安德尔-卢瓦尔省的图赖讷（现笛卡尔，因笛卡儿得名）。他一岁多时母亲就去世了。他父亲是省议会的议员。8岁时笛卡儿就进入拉夫赖士（La Fle che)的耶稣会学校接受教育，毕业后到普瓦捷大学学习法律，1616年毕血，如父亲所愿，获得中学毕业证书及法律执业资格。
He spent most of his youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences. Despite frequent moves he wrote all his major work during his 20 plus years in the Netherlands, where he managed to revolutionize mathematics and philosophy. In 1633, Galileo was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, and Descartes abandoned plans to publish Treatise on the World, his work of the previous four years. Nevertheless, in 1637 he published part of this work in three essays: Les Meteores (The Meteors), La Dioptrique (Dioptrics) and La Geometrie (Geometry), preceded by an introduction, his famous Discours de la Metode (Discourse on the Method).
笛卡儿年轻时花费了大量时间游历各方，参观王宫和军队，与各种性格和阶层的人们交往，积攒不同的经历。尽管经常迁移，他的主要作品仍然是在他20多岁时在荷兰完成的，他试图掀起一场数学和哲学的革命。 1633年，迦利略被罗马天主教会控告有罪，使笛卡儿放弃了出版《世界》，这是他前四年的心血的结晶。然而, 在1637年，他将这本书中的部分内容发表在三篇小散文中：《折光学》、《气象学》和《几何学》，书的序言就是他著名的《方法论》。
Descartes continued to publish works concerning both mathematics and philosophy for the rest of his life. He died on 11 February 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he had been invited as a tutor for Queen Christina of Sweden. The cause of death was said to be pneumonia — he may have suffered a detrimental effect on his health due to Christina’s demands for early morning study. The lack of sleep could have
severely compromised his immune system.