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Todays society battles daily with the separation of church and state In the United States whether it is the small town or the sprawling metropolis there will be some sort of conflict concerning the church and its rules warring against societys set of laws In the early seventeenth century the churchs doctrines ruled the world There was no separation the kings governed the land according to their alliances with the religious leaders There were harsh punishments for any who dared to question the churchs views no matter how logical One of these who dared to dream reason and doubt was Rene Descartes a French born mathematician and philosopher Descartes was born in a small village near Tours in France in the year 1596 He was lucky compared to most in his time to receive an extensive education At the age of eight he was sent to Jesuit school where he was instructed on varying disciplines and of course theology Encarta At the age of nineteen Descartes was faced with either becoming a man of the cloth or a man of war He chose to join the army of Prince Maurice of Orange then at Breda where he fought in the Thirty Years War After four years of service he resigned his commission to travel Europe and study his first love mathematics After many years of traveling and studying culture Descartes settled in Paris In 1628 he met Cardinal de Berulle the founder of the Oratorians Berulle was so impressed with Descartes intellect he urged him on the duty of devoting his life to the search for truth Ball Descartes was so inspired that he agreed and began traveling again conversing with others and further developing his mathematical studies He remained detached from the business of the world acting as a spectator carefully uprooting all the errors or unjustified opinions in his mind and taking careful note of any experiences that he might be able to
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