René Descartes Net Worth
René Descartes
Body Measurement
Body type
Height5 feet 1 inches
Hair ColorDark Brown
Eye ColorBlack
Shoe Size
Full NameRené Descartes 
Date of Birth  31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650
Age53 Years (at the time of death)
ProfessionFrench philosopher, scientist, and mathematician
René Descartes Net Worth$5 Million
Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand (1607–1614)
University of Poitiers (LL.B., 1616)
BirthplaceLa Haye en Touraine, Touraine, Kingdom of France (now Descartes, Indre-et-Loire)
HometownDescartes, Indre-et-Loire
ReligionWestern philosophy
Zodiac SignPisces
Father Joachim Descartes
MotherJeanne Brochard
ChildrenFrancine Descartes (died at age five of scarlet fever)
Siblings2 brothers and 2 sisters

EMLOThe Correspondence of René Descartes
Project GutenbergWorks by René Descartes
Internet ArchiveWorks by or about René Descartes
Published in Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition (1996)René Descartes (1596–1650)
Mathematics Genealogy ProjectRené Descartes
Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyLife and works
René Descartes Net Worth

Childhood & Early Life

On March 31, 1596, René Descartes was born in La Haye, France. His father served as a landowner and councilor in the Brittany Parliament.

Descartes began his education with the Jesuits at the College de La Flèche in the French province of Anjou when he was ten years old. Henry IV of France (reigned 1589–1610) founded this institution, which is regarded as one of the finest in all of Europe.

René Descartes Net Worth
René Descartes

He studied languages, logic, ethics, math, physics, and metaphysics while he was there. Later, he would attend the University of Poitiers, where he eventually graduated in 1616 with a law degree.

Despite having had what many of his contemporaries would consider an exceptional education, he eventually began to severely doubt his teachers’ theories—except in the field of mathematics, which he thought was straightforward, apparent, and rational.

He attended one of the most prestigious schools in Europe, but he soon developed doubts, and after making a vain attempt to educate himself, he soon realized what he thought to be his own ignorance.

Descartes set out on a long journey that would change the very nature of philosophy for future generations, heavily influenced by the theories of both Copernicus (1473–1543) and Galileo (1564–1642) as well as their heliocentric view of the universe in which the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system.

René Descartes Net Worth
René Descartes’s place

Early in the 17th century, science and philosophy in Europe underwent a significant transformation.

Aristotelean philosophy and scholasticism dominated Western thinking prior to Descartes’ argument on the concept of doubt and the transition into rationalism, but science started a departure from this traditional ideology to one based on an individual’s own capacity of reason.

Descartes introduced a new style of thinking in which the old idea of empiricism, which held that knowledge was obtained through the senses or experience, was demonstrated to be unreliable. Science puts a lot of focus on experimentation, observation, and logic.

René Descartes Net Worth

The final of these three gave Descartes the freedom to doubt all he had been taught to believe and inspired him to look for the truth. He would attempt to establish his own existence by relying just on reason.

When Descartes enlisted to fight in the Netherlands and German armies and traveled across Europe, he started this search.

He had an incident while stationed in the German state of Bavaria that would forever alter his life.

He sought refuge in a small room that was solely heated by a ceramic furnace on November 10, 1619, to escape the chilly weather. He meditated all day because he didn’t have anything else to do. He had three distinct dreams one night.

When he awoke, he saw these dreams as visions and realized that mathematics was the key to understanding the natural world as a whole. He questioned whether other fields of knowledge could benefit from mathematical certainty.

René Descartes Net Worth

He would spend most of the remainder of his life in the Netherlands, a nation that provided more freedom of expression than any other in Europe, after leaving the army and out of concern for Catholic Church persecution.

He started looking for a new way of thinking because the visions he had in Bavaria were keeping him up at night. The search for truth was at the heart of this new way of thinking.

Descartes felt that the idea of doubt could lead to the discovery of truth.

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His Meditations would revolutionize philosophical thought and introduce a new school of thought: rationalism. His Discourse laid the groundwork for both his epistemology and metaphysics.

René Descartes Net Worth

Rationalists believe that reason should be used to learn about the world rather than relying on the fallibility of the senses.

He spoke about his own search in his Discourse, stating that he had to “reject as absolutely false everything as to which I could imagine the least ground of doubt”.

René Descartes Net Worth

One must put all of their beliefs to the test in this search and discard anything that doesn’t pass. Descartes emphasized the necessity to reject experience and rely solely on the senses in his Meditations.

For him, certainty is necessary for authentic knowledge or truth; there can be no place for uncertainty. One should not put too much faith in what they see or feel because their senses might be deceptive.

Descartes explains in Meditations how he eventually came to his Cogito or the proof of his own existence. He started by applying the question of doubt as a filter to all of his personal convictions. An idea was eliminated if it couldn’t get past this filter.

René Descartes Net Worth

He could develop knowledge again after an idea had succeeded or failed based on these certainties. He created a set of guidelines for this search after keeping in mind that all intricate mathematical proofs include numerous phases.

One must divide a question into manageable chunks to start the process. Then progress gradually from the smallest and easiest to the biggest and most complicated before reviewing.

Nothing that is not presented in a way that leaves no room for doubt must be accepted as true.

Descartes cannot even be certain that he, himself, is real if he applies this filter to all of his views. One should not believe everything his senses tell him because they are susceptible to deception.

René Descartes Net Worth

He must come up with a technique to establish his existence as he has rejected any reliance on his own senses. Even reality must ultimately be called into doubt.

Can one even demonstrate their awareness? Given how realistic some dreams may be, a person may be dreaming, or their entire existence may be a dream.

Or a person could be possessed by a bad demon, a godlike being that is controlling his ideas.

Descartes coined the statement Cogito ergo sum, or “I think therefore I am,because in the end, the only thing one can know for sure is that they exist because they are thinking.

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René Descartes Net Worth

Major Works

From 1629 to 1649 he would produce his greatest works on philosophy, including:

  • Le Monde (1633) – a defense of the heliocentric view of the solar system
  • Discourse on Method (1637) – the preface to his Optics
  • Meditations (1641) – a discussion of his Cartesian theory and God’s existence
  • Principles of Philosophy (1644) – an examination of the relationship between the body and soul

Although known for his works on philosophy, Descartes wrote extensively on both science and
mathematics. These works included Le Géométrie (Geometry), Les Météores (Meteorology), La Dioptrique (Optics), and Passion of the Soul.

Awards and Achievements

While Rene Descartes was alive, he did not receive any awards. Although his work was important, he was not given any special honors or awards during his lifetime

René Descartes Net Worth

Rene was one of the richest Philosophers from France. According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, Rene Descartes‘s net worth was estimated to be around $5 Million.


Descartes expanded the scope of the issue of doubt to include both the ontological case for the existence of God and the areas eventually covered by his Cartesian dualism.

He received most of his criticism in these areas. According to Descartes, a person is made up of both their body and thought.

René Descartes Net Worth

For perception, memory, imagination, and emotion, both of these are essential.

However, in accordance with his concept of dualism, the body and mind are different and distinct; the body is physical and an occupant of space, whereas the mind is a thing that thinks and is not physical.

Since the body is not necessary for the existence of the mind, the two cannot be the same. “There is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible,” he stated in Meditations VI.

This separation of the mind and body is the foundation of human reason. Since experience is what breeds the “demon” of doubt, the mind must include innate beliefs that predated experience.

This was criticized by some at the time as leading dangerously close to atheism. Four years after his passing, in 1663, the Holy Office of the Catholic Church forbade the publication of four of his books.

Years later, the Dutch Reform theologian Gisbert Voetuis attacked both his character and his Discourse on Method, branding him vain, vengeful, “peripatetic,” and ambitious.

Descartes thought that God existed and sought to demonstrate it, even if many people have doubts about the “how.”

His ontological proof is not significantly different from those put forth by older philosophers like Anselm.

Descartes understood that he was an imperfect person who was transient and limited, but he also held the idea of an infinite being who was everlasting, immortal, and without flaw. This was God.

He thought that since he could not have come up with the idea of God, God must already exist as a perfect creature.


Descartes relocated to Stockholm in 1649 at the request of Queen Christina of Sweden to instruct her in philosophy.

Descartes, who preferred to sleep late and had done so ever since his days at the College of de Le Flèche, was unlucky in that the queen was an early riser.

He had to get up at five in the morning for the lessons (three times a week), which proved fatal because he developed pneumonia and passed away on February 11th, 1650.

René Descartes Net Worth
The first grave of René Descartes

Descartes’ remains, minus his head and one finger, would be transported from Stockholm to Paris 16 years after his passing.

He was buried in the St. Genevieve du Mont Church cemetery in 1667. He would eventually be relocated, still lacking his skull and finger, and reinterred at the Saint-Germain-du-Pres Abbey.

René Descartes Net Worth

10 things you didn’t know about René Descartes!

  • Descartes went by a nickname and often introduced himself as “Poitevin” and signed letters as “du Perron.” 
  • Descartes’s family was chock-full of lawyers, and the budding intellectual was expected to join them. 
  • On the night of November 10, he had three dreams that convinced him to change his life’s path.
  •  In 1637, Descartes published his groundbreaking Discourse on the Method, where he took the revolutionary step of describing lines through mathematical equations. 
  • Everybody knows Descartes for his phrase Cogito, ergo sum (which originally appeared in French as “Je pense, donc je suis“), or “I think, therefore I am.” 
  • His advice included this classic chestnut: To solve a big problem, break it up into small, easy-to-understand parts—and check each step often.
  • When Descartes was revising his Meditations on First Philosophy, he planned to send the manuscript to “the 20 or 30 most learned theologians” for criticism—a sort of proto-peer review. He collected seven objections and published them in the work.
  • There’s a “fun fact” parading around that suggests Descartes believed monkeys and apes could talk. 
  • In 1647, a 51-year-old Descartes visited the 24-year-old prodigy and physicist Blaise Pascal. Their meeting quickly devolved into a heated argument over the concept of a vacuum—that is, the idea that air pressure could ever be reduced to zero.


What is Descartes’ most famous statement in philosophy?

Descartes’ most famous statement is “Cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am). This phrase reflects his foundational belief in the existence of the thinking self as the starting point for knowledge.

What was Descartes’ contribution to mathematics?

Descartes made significant contributions to mathematics, particularly in the development of analytic geometry. He introduced Cartesian coordinates, which allowed algebraic equations to be represented geometrically.

What is the significance of Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy”?

Descartes’ “Meditations” is a philosophical work in which he systematically doubted all his beliefs to find a foundation of knowledge. It explores his famous method of radical doubt and the quest for certain and indubitable truths.

What impact did Descartes have on the Scientific Revolution?

Descartes’ emphasis on skepticism, deductive reasoning, and mathematical precision greatly influenced the development of modern science. His approach to problem-solving and the use of mathematics as a tool for understanding the natural world were pivotal in shaping the Scientific Revolution.

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