PHYSICS AND PHILOSOPHY
The great development of natural science since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was preceded and accompanied by a development of philosophical ideas which were closely connected with the fundamental concepts of science. It may therefore be instructive to comment on these ideas from the position that has finally been reached by modern science in our time.
The first great philosopher of this new period of science was Rene Descartes who lived in the first half of the seventeenth century. Those of his ideas that are most important for the development of scientific thinking are contained in his Discourse on Method. On the basis of doubt and logical reasoning he tries to find a completely new and solid ground for a philosophical system. He does not accept revelation as such a basic nor does he want to accept uncritically what is perceived by the senses. So he starts with his method of doubt. He casts his doubt upon that which our senses tell us about the results of our reasoning and finally he arrives at his famous sentence: Cogito ergo sum. I cannot doubt my existence since it follows from the fact that I am thinking. After establishing the existence of the I in this way he proceeds to prove the existence of God essentially on the lines of scholastic philosophy. Finally the existence of the world follows from the fact that God had given me a strong inclination to believe in the existence of the world……