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p. 62. The Discovery of a Vocationlocked

  • Tom Sorell


According to ‘The Discovery of a Vocation’, nothing in Descartes' early years pointed to his eventual career. He was educated at a Jesuit college where he showed a special aptitude for mathematics and also studied physics. This was, however, scholastic physics, which attempted to make sense of qualitatively described observations in obscure, abstract, and non-quantitative terms. After a law degree, Descartes embarked on a military career, but was already much preoccupied with mathematical questions. His friendship with Beeckman further stimulated his interest in science and in November 1619 he believed he received a divine revelation of his work in life — the unfolding of a scientia mirabilis, or wonderful science.

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