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A subtle allusion?

By Debra Dobbins

René Descartes was a 17th century philosopher and mathematician. Though born in France, Descartes spent much of his life in the Dutch Republic and died of pneumonia in Sweden at age 54. He is often called the father of modern philosophy.

As noted in a previous blog entry, his famous words, “I think, therefore I am,” were originally stated in his native language: Je pense, donc je suis. They appeared in his Discourse on the Method (1637), according to Wikipedia.

In today’s “Frank & Ernest,” cartoonist Tom Thaves seems to allude to the dream argument, which for centuries has intrigued philosophers around the world, including Descarte. He explored the dream argument in his Meditations, published in 1641.

To learn about the dream argument and its philosophical questions about what is real and what is illusory, head to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_argument. For even more about Descartes’ life and contributions to math and philosophy, check out the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte.

René Descartes
Portrait after Frans Hals, 1648
Photo of portrait courtesy of Wikipedia

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