René Descartes viewed
the world
with a
cold analytical
logic.
He
viewed
all physical
bodies,
including
the human
body, as
machines
operated
by mechanical
principles.
His philosophy
proceeded
from the
austere
logic of
"cogito
ergo sum"
-- I think
therefore
I am.
In
mathematics
Descartes
chief contribution
was in
analytical
geometry.
**Descartes'
portrait** is
quadrisected
by the
axes of
his great
advance
in analytical
geometry:
what has
come to
be known
as the
**Cartesian
plane**.
It
enabled
an algebraic
representation
of geometry.
Descartes
saw that
a point
in a plane
could be
completely
determined
if its
distances
(conventionally
'x' and
'y') were
given from
two fixed
lines drawn
at right
angles
in the
plane,
with the
now-familiar
convention
of interpreting
positive
and negative
values.
Conventionally,
such co-ordinates
are referred
to as "Cartesian
co-ordinates".
Descartes
asserted
that, similarly,
a point
in 3-dimensional
space could
be determined
by three
co-ordinates. |