The appearance of "Meditations on First Philosophy" in 1641 marked a dramatic turning point in the history of Western thought.
In "Meditations on the First Philosophy", René Descartes delves into epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. He asks questions such as whether there is such a thing as knowledge, and if so, what distinguishes it from opinion. However, in order to answer these questions and to validate knowledge, it was necessary to raise the fundamental questions of being.
Descartes chooses to present his thoughts as meditations; he represents himself as seated before a fire in a cozy Dutch dwelling, wrapped in his dressing gown, freed from worldly care, and ready to devote himself to a task to which he had for some time looked forward, a kind of mental housecleaning. On six successive days, he pursues his meditation, step by step, clearing his mind of all error.