Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy


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This volume provides new translations of René Descartes’s two most important philosophical works. The Discourse offers a concise presentation and defense of Descartes’s method of intellectual inquiry—a method that greatly influenced both philosophical and scientific reasoning in the early modern world. Considered a foundational text in modern philosophy, the Meditations presents numerous powerful arguments that to this day influence debates in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. Descartes’s timeless writing strikes an uncommon balance of novelty and familiarity, offering arguments concerning knowledge, science, and metaphysics (including the famous “I think, therefore I am”) that are as compelling in the twenty-first century as they were in the seventeenth. Ian Johnston’s translations are modern, clear, and thoroughly annotated, ideal for readers unfamiliar with Descartes’s intellectual context. An approachable introduction engages both the historical and the philosophical aspects of the text, helping the reader to understand the concepts and arguments contained therein.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554815548
Publisher: Broadview Press
Publication date: 08/05/2020
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 337,060
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

Andrew Bailey is Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts at the University of Guelph. He is editor of The Broadview Introduction to Philosophy.

Ian Johnston is Professor Emeritus at Vancouver Island University; he has translated numerous works from Greek, French, German, and Latin.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Descartes 7

Translator's Note 16

Introduction to the Discourse 17

Discourse on Method 25

Part One 28

Part Two 34

Part Three 41

Part Four 47

Part Five 53

Part Six v 65

Introduction to the Meditations 77

Meditations on First Philosophy 85

Dedication to the Sorbonne 87

Preface to the Reader 93

Synopsis of the Six Following Meditations 97

First Meditation: Concerning Those Things Which Can Be Called into Doubt 101

Second Meditation: Concerning the Nature of the Human Mind and the Fact that It Is Easier to Know than the Body 106

Third Meditation: Concerning God and the Fact that He Exists 113

Fourth Meditation: Concerning Truth and Falsity 125

Fifth Meditation: Concerning the Essence of Material Things, and, Once Again, Concerning the Fact that God Exists 132

Sixth Meditation: Concerning the Existence of Material Things and the Real Distinction between Mind and Body 138

Index 151

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