On a brutal winter’s day
in 1650 in Stockholm, the Frenchman René Descartes, the most influential and
controversial thinker of his time, was buried after a cold and lonely death far
from home. Sixteen years later, the French Ambassador Hugues de Terlon secretly
unearthed Descartes’ bones and transported them to France.
Why would this devoutly
Catholic official care so much about the remains of a philosopher who was
hounded from country to country on charges of atheism? Why would Descartes’
bones take such a strange, serpentine path over the next 350 years—a path
intersecting some of the grandest events imaginable, involving people from all
walks of life?
The answer lies in
Descartes’ famous phrase, “I think, therefore I am.” The notion that one could
find truth in facts that could be proved, and not in reliance on tradition and
the Church’s teachings, would become a turning point in human history.
The great controversy
Descartes ignited continues to our era. Descartes’
Bones is a historical detective story about the creation of the modern
mind, with twists and turns leading up to the present day—to the science museum
in Paris where the philosopher’s skull now resides and to the church a few
kilometers away where, not long ago, a philosopher-priest said a mass for his
bones. Download and start listening now!