Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Tim McGrew

Second Advisor

Dr. Eric Russell-Webb

Third Advisor

Dr. Arthur White


An Analysis of the Role of Certainty in Descartes's Philosophy of Existence Rene Descartes, born 31 March 1596 in his maternal grandmother's house at La Haye, France, is probably best-known for his statement cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) in part IV of his Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking for Truth in the Sciences (henceforth to be referred to as Discourse on the Method). The philosophical tenet that he does in fact exist serves as the starting point for his early philosophy, which endeavors to follow the model of deductive mathematical proof to assert only ideas proven to be completely true. Publishing several treatises to this effect, Descartes eventually relaxes his strict adherence to absolutely certain proofs, for which he is most famous, to cautious acceptance of intermediate and specific—but not necessarily certain—axioms to further his knowledge.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only