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Rene Descartes

(1596 - 1650)

Rene Descartes is labelled as the first modern philosopher. Born in La Haye in Central France he was left an annual income for life by his father who was a prosperous lawyer. His early education was from the Jesuits which he then went on to gain degrees in Civil and Church law at the University of Poitiers. He is most famous for his statement of principal of certainty and validity, "I think therefore I am." His main argument was that God did not create people with unreliable senses, which we conclude Descartes believed "sense" information is an individuals only accurate depiction of the environment. Descartes always maintained that the role of the brain was to be a transitional agent between spiritual energies of the mind and physical forces of bodily mechanics. When he died in 1663 all his books were placed in The Index of Forbidden Books by the church. Cartesian dualism (the interaction between Mind and Body) asserts all human activity excluding thinking and feeling come under the heading of Bodily Physiology and can be said to be the study of the psychophysilogical. He is credited for directly stimulating the founding of psychology which in turn now gives us the discipline known as parapsychology. Although many psychologists have difficulty in applying some of the theories of parapsychology to psychology, as both of them rely heavily on scientific (statistical) data.