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What It Means For Us Today
Today, we use a coordinate plane, with an x-axis and a y-axis, which are perpendicular to each other. The plane appears everywhere in geometry as well as calculus and other forms of mathematics, including algebra, where we use it to graph equations in two variables. This plane helps us to readily use algebra to solve geometrical problems, such as finding areas of figures, lengths of line segments, distances, angles, and other more complicated tasks. This also allows us to gain information about geometric figures without having to draw the picture, something which Descartes himself feels is an important feature of his method.