that of Gilbert White. Descartes and White have similar key methods of
examining nature. It is mainly in Descartes’ deductive reasoning and
beliefs that lead him to the method of approaching nature internally
(mind and body). Conversely, White’s keen observances, inductive
reasoning, and appreciation for his surroundings lead him to the
method of investigating the external nature (Selborne). Although
their methods in exploring nature are contrasting, both illustrate
that strong foundations and experience apply not only to their
researches in nature but also to life.
Descartes seeks nature in the study of the mind and soul. With his
four rules,“[He] [shows] what the laws of nature are and, without
basing [his] reasons on any other principle apart from the infinite
perfections of God, [he] [tries] to demonstrate all the laws that may
[seem] to be doubtful” (Descartes, 32). This deductive reasoning [the
reasoning that subdivides each of the problems into as many parts as
possible to better comprehend and resolve them (Descartes, 16)],
enables Descartes to argue that the body, although created by nature,
is material, thus, does not hold a constant truth (Descartes, 28). It
is the human mind and soul in which Descartes discovers steady truth,
because of his belief that God, a source of truth, instills “a
rational soul” (Descartes, 34) to ...
... middle of paper ...
...owledge, the more necessary
they become” (Descartes, 45). Throughout White’s journal, it is
evident that he values experiences, as he records many encounters with
animals and climate changes, in hopes of relating past ideas with new
ones to generate accurate answers in nature.
Although Descartes explores nature internally through deductive
reasoning and beliefs, and White externally through his observance,
inductive reasoning, and scientific and literary combinations, their
approaches originate from similar principles and beliefs.
Descartes, René. Discourse on Method and Related Writings. 10 Alcorn
Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 1999.
White, Gilbert. The Natural History of Selborne. 10 Alcorn Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 1977.
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