With reference to Descartes’ key philosophical ideas and with particular reference to Descartes’ Discourse on the Method and related metaphysical works, discuss and critically assess this statement
Descartes marked a pivotal moment in Western philosophy with respect to the role of reason in both philosophy and theology. The controversy surrounding Descartes’ application of his “first principle of philosophy”, the cognito (“I am thinking, therefore I am”), resulted in his work being put on the Catholic Index of the Inquisition shortly after his death. The controversy was also found within Protestant Holland where Descartes had lived for a large portion of his working life. At the height of disputations in the 1640s, his philosophy was described as “blasphemous and atheistic” by Leiden professor of theology Jacob Trigland. This essay examines whether it really was Descartes’ intention to facilitate the “removal of God from philosophy” by “[setting] up reason, everyone’s own rational faculty, as the sole authority and criterion of truth”.
You can read a PDF of the essay here.