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My sentence is from a philosophical book and it made me perplexed. Such that I wasn't even able to separate the parts of it. So, the sentence is:

Modern philosophy begins with Descartes, whose fundamental certainty is the existence of himself and his thoughts, from which the external world is to be inferred.

By the way, I am also confused about "preposition + relative clause" structure which is used by the author in this book. If anyone could explain this to me I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance.

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    You might want to put the question about "prepostion + relative clause" subject in a separate question, with examples. – Jack O'Flaherty Mar 31 at 22:26
  • Yeah,I'm going to do it later on. Thanks for your answer, btw. – furyca Mar 31 at 22:43
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Let's separate the parts, and see what they mean:

"Modern philosophy begins with Descartes."
Descartes' philosophy was revolutionary, and it started "modern" philosophy.

"whose fundamental certainty is the existence of himself and his thoughts"
"Whose" refers to Descartes. He is certain that his thoughts exist, and that he exists. This is expressed in the often-quoted phrase "I think, therefore I am."

"from which the external world is to be inferred."
He is certain that his thoughts exist and that he exists, and from that certainty he concludes that the rest of the world must exist as well.

Does that help?

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