Ren'e Descartes (1596-1650) is the father of modern philosophy, and one of the greatest thinkers of all time. His unique contribution to Western thought covers not only philosophy but also science and mathematics, though his most famous project was the exploration of the foundations of human knowledge, starting from the formula Cogito ergo sum, `I am thinking therefore I exist'. This is the first intellectual biography of Descartes in English. Stephen Gaukroger provides a rich and authoritative account of Descartes' intellectual and personal development, understood in its historical context, and offers a reassessment of all aspects of his life and work.

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