Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about Philosophers – Five


MTr 6 Rene Descartes


Rene Descartes’s “I think, therefore I am” is possibly the most quoted idea in all of philosophy. His ideas are said to be the grounding for most Western philosophy, and he may have come up with many of those ideas in an oven. Exactly when and where is up for debate, but according to Descartes himself, it did happen.

It wasn’t an oven as you might imagine, but a stone room where a fire always burned. Temperatures were raised when it was needed for cooking, but it was kept relatively low during other times of the day. They certainly weren’t designed for people, but that didn’t stop Descartes from sleeping in one and having dreams that he eventually turned into the grounding of his life’s work.