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Rene Descartes

Descartes (1596-1650) made enormous contributions to science, mathematics, and philosophy. His single greatest legacy comes to us as a question, "How can we establish an unassailable, indubitable foundation for knowledge?" His answer was simple, start from the mind and work your way out. Assume all prior knowledge is faulty, including the senses. Now ask yourself what exists, what you know to be undeniably true: Cogito ergo sum; I think, therefore I am. Beyond founding Rationalism, Descartes developed the technique of plotting mathematical functions in 2D space, now known as the Cartesian coordinate system.