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The approach to nature which Ren Descartes takes is distinct from that of Gilbert White.

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The approach to nature which Ren´┐Ż Descartes takes is distinct from 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). ...read more.


White finds appreciation for the external nature which Descartes considers to be "less certain" (Descartes, 28). While Descartes takes a rational approach, White takes a scientific, yet literary means toward nature. He observes nature ardently, noting animals' modes of life-housing, reproduction, communications, transportation, and physical appearance. His ability to personify these animals creates "a meeting place for wild life and human feeling" (White, xvii). In his recordings for example, White observes the swallow's mode of life. It builds its nest, "often within barns and out-houses against the rafters" (White, 156). "The swallow lays from four to six white eggs, dotted with red specks; and brings about her first brood about the last week in June, or the first week of July" (White, 157). "The swallow is a delicate songster, and in soft sunny weather sings both perching and flying; on trees in a kind of concert, and on chimney-tops; is also a bold flyer, ranging to distant downs and commons even in windy weather" (White, 158). ...read more.


Descartes states in a metaphor that "large bodies, when they are knocked down, are too difficult to rebuild and even, once shaken, are too difficult to support" (Descartes, 13), thus, it is important to have strong foundations, or morals by which a person can truly abide by in their life. White simply gives attention to a small, but important idea on foundations: "The most insignificant insects and reptiles are of much more consequence [...] and are mighty in their effect" (White, 196). To White, bases are essential in the way nature functions. Descartes and White also value experience. Descartes realizes that "about experiences, that the more we advance in knowledge, 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. ...read more.

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