The Mark Steel Lectures - Descartes

Rene Descartes is indubitably (get it?) one of the most influential and ambitious thinkers of all time. Look at him looking all French... :)

One of the contributions for which I admire him most is the unprecedented unification of algebra and geometry into analytic geometry, demonstrating for the first time that geometric figures can be represented algebraically and that algebraic equations could be represented graphically (you might also know him from the cartesian coordinate plane... he invented that shit!). Without his contributions to mathematics, it is arguable that Leibniz and Newton could not have developed the calculus.

Descartes also made important contributions to the scientific study of light, discovering the law of refraction and the optics of the eye. He also contributed to our knowledge of anatomy and physiology, discovering, for instance, the workings of the nervous system. Oh yeah, did I mention he is also considered the father of modern philosophy? How many other people do you know who could put that on their resume? He had this silly notion that knowledge claims should be subject to scrutiny and supported by proof... how adorable :)

In this amusing lecture, comedian Mark Steel traces the philosophical legacy of this genius, touching on everything from Descartes' thoughts on methodological skepticism to his intellectual separation from religious dogma, to the Cartesian Circle, the problem of other minds, psycho-physical dualism (what a nightmare that's been...) and much more.

Where can I get an Ezee cup? :)

Related videos:

How Descartes' Meditations inspired The Matrix.

Mobius Transformations over the Reimann Sphere.

More funny Mark Steel Lectures.
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