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A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–49) of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces.He is generally considered one of the most notable intellectual representatives of the Dutch Golden Age.Martin's Day), while stationed in Neuburg an der Donau, Descartes shut himself in a room with an "oven" (probably a Kachelofen or masonry heater) to escape the cold.While within, he had three dreams and believed that a divine spirit revealed to him a new philosophy."Descartes said that he did not believe that one must refrain from tears to prove oneself a man." Russell Shorto postulated that the experience of fatherhood and losing a child formed a turning point in Descartes' work, changing its focus from medicine to a quest for universal answers.In 1633, Galileo was condemned by the Catholic Church, and Descartes abandoned plans to publish Treatise on the World, his work of the previous four years.Descartes refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers.
Descartes was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution.In 1641 he published a metaphysics work, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy), written in Latin and thus addressed to the learned.It was followed, in 1644, by Principia Philosophiæ (Principles of Philosophy), a kind of synthesis of the Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy.In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation.
Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.
In Amsterdam, he had a relationship with a servant girl, Helena Jans van der Strom, with whom he had a daughter, Francine, who was born in 1635 in Deventer.